There’s so much more to your employee benefits package than salary alone. Health insurance, retirement accounts, wellness packages, and continuing education opportunities are high-value benefits that you want to take advantage of.
Let’s discuss the crucial steps you need to take to ensure you get the most out of your employee benefits package.
Reviewing Your Employee Benefits Package
It’s crucial to thoroughly review each benefit package component before signing the dotted line. Carefully read the employee handbook and benefits documents, note any questions, and consult human resources with any concerns. Employee benefits can be very different between companies, but they will typically include the following:
- Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- PTO, sick days, and paid holidays
- Retirement plans
- Dental and/or vision insurance
- Health savings accounts (HSA)
As you review the relevant documents, identify the benefits available to you and their associated costs.
Assessing Your Personal Needs and Goals
An employee benefits package is not a one-size-fits-all document. There will be certain areas that may not pertain to you or fit your current needs. Reflect on what you value the most and identify specific goals related to healthcare, retirement, and work-life balance.
Take some time and ask yourself:
- Does your employer offer a 401k match?
- Are you in need of an HSA to save for future health expenses?
- Are you planning on becoming pregnant and desire a generous maternity and/or paternity leave?
- Do you need at least four weeks of paid time off to balance work and life?
Write down all the benefits that mean the most to you and align your benefits utilization with your priorities.
Understanding Your Healthcare Benefits
Health insurance is one of the most important benefits, but it can be challenging to comprehend fully. Review the health insurance coverage and options available to you with a professional to ensure you understand what is covered and what is not.
Your employer’s health insurance plan can significantly impact your finances. Familiarize yourself with deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximums to prepare your financials and alter your spending or savings strategy if needed.
Don’t forget to take advantage of preventive services and wellness programs if your employer offers them. These could include gym memberships, yoga classes, or guided meditation sessions.
Maximizing Retirement Contributions and Plans
Employer-sponsored retirement plans are excellent ways to start saving for your golden years. Many retirement programs can provide excellent tax benefits, such as:
- 401k or SIMPLE 401k
- IRA or SIMPLE IRA
- Profit Sharing plan
- 403b or 457b plans
- Pension plans
Each retirement savings vehicle has different requirements for eligibility, contribution limits, and vesting, so it’s essential to understand what you’re signing up for.
For some plans, employers even have the option to match employee contributions up to a certain percentage. That’s free money you will want to take advantage of!
Before you sign up for any plan, evaluate your retirement savings goals and adjust your contributions accordingly.
Exploring Additional Financial Benefits
A great employee benefits package is more than just a competitive salary. Your employer may offer other financial benefits such as stock options, annual or quarterly bonuses, flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA), or training opportunities. These additional financial benefits can be precious to your overall net income.
Be sure also to take advantage of employee assistance programs and financial counseling resources if available.
Evaluating Work-Life Balance Programs
To perform your best, you need to feel your best, and having a solid work-life balance is crucial for high-performing individuals.
Assess the availability of flexible work arrangements or remote work options and understand the nuances of your PTO. How many paid holidays do you get? Are sick days and vacation days interchangeable, or do you get additional sick days to use throughout the year?
As we said above, your employer may also offer wellness programs and initiatives to promote a better work-life balance within the office.
Taking Advantage of Professional Development Opportunities
Continuing education opportunities are crucial for career development. Identify if your employer offers professional development opportunities such as conferences, online courses, certifications, or other training programs.
Your employer may also offer mentoring or coaching opportunities within your organization. Engaging in these opportunities shows initiative in leadership and can help guide your work into a meaningful career.
Reviewing and Updating Beneficiary Designations
You should review your designated beneficiaries for life insurance, retirement accounts, and other benefits every year. Updating beneficiaries is especially important after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, or childbirth.
It’s easy to forget about your beneficiary designations, but it’s essential to keep them updated if something happens to you. You don’t want the wrong person inheriting your retirement account! Your beneficiaries should align with your current wishes and estate planning goals.
Seeking Guidance and Asking Questions
Never be afraid to ask questions—employee benefit packages can be confusing and complicated.
Consult HR representatives or benefits administrators within your organization for clarification. You may even reach out to colleagues or mentors for insights and advice. The last thing you want to do is take advantage of a benefit because you were cautious about asking for clarification!
Utilizing online resources and tools to understand your benefits options better.
Revisiting Your Benefits Annually
Always review your benefits package annually during open enrollment. You may have started a family, married or divorced, or purchased your first home. These major life events can impact your benefits and insurance options.
Whether you’ve been through a significant life event or not, it’s vital to assess any changes to your needs or goals and make the necessary adjustments to your benefit elections.
Take advantage of every benefit offered to you
No two employee benefits packages are the same, meaning that not all benefits packages suit you or your goals. Take the time to understand what is most important to you and review each document thoroughly.
If you want to ensure that you’re maximizing the value of your employee benefits, someone from our team will be happy to help. Get in touch with us here.