Creating a competitive benefits package sounds like an obvious strategy for recruiting and retaining employees in a tight labor market. But surprisingly, many employers don’t spend much time analyzing their benefits packages, and haven’t ensured alignment with the market and industry competitors. That is a missed opportunity, but today we’ll explore how you can take advantage of it.

Why Do We Need to Update Our Benefits?

Today’s workforce is made up of a diverse mix of employees from different generations, backgrounds, skill levels and family statuses. Utilizing a “one size fits all” approach to employee benefits is not sufficient, and won’t do your company any favors in recruiting and retaining skilled staff. Companies providing benefits that meet the needs of a diverse talent pool may find more people applying, and find people with more interest in getting the job.

Once hired, employees (understandably!) want to feel valued and appreciated. One of the most significant ways in which an organization shows its appreciation is through total rewards, meaning both benefits and compensation. It goes without saying that a competitive salary is important, but in an industry increasingly comprised of people from different backgrounds, benefits packages should accommodate employees with different priorities and needs. Not only does it meet the need they have, but it also shows that your company cares enough to recognize and provide for it.

How Do We Decide which Benefits to Offer?

The benefits offered by your organization should be evaluated on a regular basis to determine whether they appeal to a diverse workforce. Organizations may consider convening a panel or focus group to get their feedback and input. You may be surprised at what you learn — perhaps some female employees value childcare options or gym discounts more than healthcare coverage, or maybe some male employees value paternity leave over vacation time. Let this information inform your benefits package.

When companies take the first step to understanding what employees want, they can begin to evaluate the costs associated and different possible solutions. There are many benefits programs that get overlooked because they are not considered “standard.” Be sure to do your research. If benefits such as pet insurance, legal assistance, gym memberships or critical illness insurance are what your employees want, take the extra step to see if implementing them is possible.