Organizational Wellness

Flex Benefits: How and Where to Start

Sep 29, 2023
Last Updated Sep 29, 2023

The world of work has been through many ups and downs over the past couple of years. Since the pandemic, the job market has drastically changed, and the workforce has changed with it. Today, employees are much more aware of their rights, wants, and needs. They are also aware that they have more leverage with employers than they’ve had in decades to get what they want out of work. Employers need to keep up with employee expectations if they’re going to retain their top talent and stay competitive in the market. 

Understanding what employees are looking for and value the most is essential for recruitment and retention purposes. According to a McKinsey report, after the pandemic, employers reporting benefits as a “very important” factor of talent management increased by 11 percentage points.

Employee flex benefits are crucial in differentiating your employer brand from others. Flex benefits, including access to fitness studios, generous vacation leave, car policies, tuition help, and more, enhance a company’s culture and can have a significant positive impact on the employee experience and productivity. 

What are flexible benefits?

Flexible benefits are any additional benefits — outside of a standard salary — offered by a company to its employees. They are called “flexible” benefits because they are a type of compensation that allows employees to choose from a benefits package that best fits their needs.

Every person in your organization is different and has different preferences, desires, and goals. Flexible benefits plans (or voluntary employee benefits) that allow significant levels of customization are highly valued by employees because they give employees the ability to prioritize what matters to them instead of being stuck with a one-size-fits-all program, which leaves everyone a little (or a lot) dissatisfied. For example, pet insurance benefits might be incredibly valuable to one individual while another might prioritize physical and mental wellness programs. A complete flex benefit program gives options for every type of worker.  

Flex benefits are an excellent option for companies that want to give their employees better working conditions without necessarily paying higher salaries. A flex benefits plan is made up of products, services, and subsidies that allow individuals to save money while maximizing their net salary. 

Here are some examples of flex benefits:

  • Gym memberships
  • Public transportation vouchers and discounts
  • Cycle to work schemes 
  • Private health insurance
  • Access to private dental care
  • Creativity workshops 
  • An attractive retirement plan 
  • Cafeteria plan 
  • Remote work
  • On-site nurseries/daycare 
  • Home-office budget
  • Private insurance plans 
  • Professional development — access to courses
  • Career planning 
  • Choices and flexibility about work 
  • Options to buy/sell vacation time 
  • Tuition and student loan reimbursement

Why offer flex benefits?

One of the key advantages of flexible employee benefits is that employees can manage their own benefits package to best fit their individual lives. Management doesn’t need to invest time figuring out the sweet spot for a benefits package that appeals to all employees. 

There are numerous other advantages of implementing a flexible benefit plan — for employers and employees. 

For employees:For employers:
  1. Control over their benefits — Workers have the freedom to customize and choose their benefits.  
  2. More savings — Employees receive products and services free of charge or at a great discount, which saves them money.  
  3. Job satisfaction — Almost 60% of workers who are satisfied with their benefits package are satisfied with their job overall. 
  1. Higher retention rates — The MetLife Annual Employee Benefit Trends Survey found that 72% of employees with customized benefits are more loyal to their employers. 
  2. Increases morale and productivity — Employees with better benefits tend to feel more valued at work, which increases their morale and productivity
  3. Better employer brand — A company with competitive benefits shows they care for their employees, which results in a better employer brand.


Flex benefits vs. Traditional benefits

Traditional benefits are all the essential perks an organization offers, including those required by law. They are part of almost every organization’s package and include health insurance, life insurance, pension contributions, and more. Flexible benefits, on the other hand, go beyond core benefits; they are personalized and customizable programs that can be made to fit every employee’s specific needs. 

A basic benefits package covers a limited range of the employee’s needs and, if the employee decides not to use them or forgets about them, they might expire. With flex benefits, your investment is more effective, as your workforce can take better advantage of them. A flex benefits plan gives employees a specific budget to choose from a list of benefits. Whether that amount goes entirely into private health insurance or is divided across several services and perks, is completely up to the employee. 

How to start a flexible benefits program 

The best way of implementing a flex benefits program is by using a flex benefits platform. A flex benefits platform brings all your employee benefits together in one place, where workers can access their flexible benefits allowance and use it on whatever they choose. This method also allows managers to track the benefits and have a measurable tool for their investments. 

To successfully implement a flexible benefit plan, it is essential to analyze how this will impact your company, have clear goals and objectives, and understand what will benefit your employees the most.

Communication is key. When you roll out a flex benefits plan, it is essential to communicate the plan to your employees and how it will impact them. If your workforce is unaware or doesn’t understand the value of the benefits you offer them, you are wasting your resources. Your employees need to take full advantage of these perks for you to see ROI. 

Finally, once the program is set and your workforce knows how it will work, the next step is to survey your employees. A well-designed employee benefits survey will help you understand whether the flex benefits package is actually valuable to them. 

Investing in a flexible benefits program has many advantages in a competitive talent marketplace and can have a powerful impact on employee retention and engagement. However, to maximize your ROI, you must ensure it is well designed, communicated, and implemented. 

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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