Financial Wellness
November 18, 2019

3 Outdated Employee Benefits & What to Offer Instead

Employee recruitment and retention are a major component of every successful business, but the methods used by your company could be hurting your bottom line. As technology continues to advance and Gen Z employees make up a growing portion of the workforce, benefits that complement a better work/life balance are becoming the expectation. Benefits that worked for employees in past decades—and even just the last few years— are now becoming outdated as workers demand a job that works with their life instead of forcing them to work to live.

If your company has a difficult time attracting and retaining employees, outdated benefits may be to blame. Here are 3 employee benefits that are outdated by today's standards and alternatives you should be considering right away.

1. Paid Sick Days

There's no doubt that everyone gets sick sooner or later and employees shouldn’t be in the workplace while feeling ill. However, the restrictions surrounding pay for these days often mean that some days never even get used. Traditional sick day policies are generally surrounded by strict rules that only cover specific illnesses and require employees to visit a medical professional. These policies fail to cover a large portion of the afflictions that keep employees out of work.

Today's Alternative: Paid Personal Days

A huge factor in the dissatisfaction of many employees is the restriction of responsibility left to workers. For employees who don't get sick often, 10 sick days per year might never get used. However, the same employee might lose paid workdays to family emergencies, job-related stress, or other responsibilities that must be taken care of during traditional work hours. A "sick day" conjures up an image of a person who can't even get out of bed. When an employee earns the same number of personal days, these hours become a benefit the employee can actually use. If employees have greater flexibility to address their personal needs, they’re better positioned to focus on their day to day work needs.

2. Weekly Pay

Obviously, getting paid isn't an unexpected benefit, but to workers getting paid bi-weekly or even monthly, weekly pay can be considered a perk. Weekly pay can make budgeting slightly easier, but for many employees, things still get dicey when an emergency arises and hours fluctuate. Employees making an hourly wage often depend on payday just to keep essential expenses paid  While 78 percent of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck, 75 percent of hourly workers have less than $500 saved for an emergency. Unfortunately, this leaves no funds in the event of unexpected bills like medical bills, auto damage, or home repairs.

Today's Alternative: Instant Access to Earned Wages

When workers are juggling expenses, and an emergency is thrown into the mix, many people overspend regardless of overdraft fees and high interest rates. When these costs add up, employees end up deeper in debt with extra bills they can't afford. The stress of these problems shows up at work in the form of lagging productivity and missed days due to financial problems and additional stress. Instant paycheck advances allow your workers to access a portion of their paycheck instantly to use on unplanned expenses so that they can make their paycheck work when they need it to.

3. Shorter Work Days or Four Day Weeks

While it's true that long work days and weeks can lead to burnout, strict schedules can be just as limiting for employees. Some companies offer employees the option to work four 10-hour days and have an additional weekend day. Others offer shortened workdays on certain days of the week. While these benefits offer additional time off during traditional work hours, it's not the right fit for everyone. Hourly employees are often in search of more hours. Today's employees seek a job that allows them personal flexibility related to their unique needs. In fact, 80% of employees cited work flexibility as the most important factor of a job.

Today's Alternative: Flexible Schedules

As Millennials and Gen Z workers become a big part of the workforce, the use of technology can help with greater efficiency and flexibility for today’s hourly employees. Mobile technology and collaboration with coworkers at other locations are not only a common part of the workday in most offices and brick and mortar workplaces but also among hourly workplaces including retail stores, home care centers, call centers, and quick-serve restaurants. Employers should consider introducing technology that can help match real-time demand with employee preferences so that managers can meet staffing needs while employees can feel greater flexibility and control. This helps optimize schedules for both employers and employees.

Ultimately, the best benefits in any company come from employers who understand the needs of their workers. Gathering feedback from your employees will help strengthen company morale and reduce turnover. Some common ways to learn the benefits your employees seek include meetings, worker surveys, suggestion boards, and data tracking. Branch is a system that offers employers the opportunity to help workers escape the worries of financial instability. With Branch, you can offer your employees instant paycheck advances and two-day early paychecks in an account with no overdraft fees. Additionally, you can track data that will help you decide which benefits are best suited to truly improve the lives of your employees.

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