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When is an employee benefit really a benefit?

Ensuring your employee benefits deliver value to the people your business needs
January 06, 2024

A tailored approach to benefits is now vital to compete in the current talent market. Gone are the days where businesses can just dictate a ‘one-size-fits-all’ employee benefits package and expect that to be enough to attract and retain the right people.

What is offered by your business should resonate with your people outside just the four walls of your office, and make them feel like their individual needs are being considered. The traditional, less personalised approach to employee benefits is no longer relevant, and can alienate people that don’t feel accommodated for.

Greater candidate power

One of the main reasons why broader employee benefits can be less effective in today’s market is due to the greater bargaining power that candidates are now used to. The workforce shortage has allowed applicants to be more demanding and selective, meaning employers must do more than ever to attract the best candidates and be able to call themselves an ‘employer of choice’

This has had a significant impact on employee benefits strategies of businesses, with one third (30%) of Irish companies reportedly focusing on a competitive compensation and benefits package (IBEC 2022 HR report) to not only compete in but to win the “war for talent”.

Think about who your business needs

To design an employee benefits package that meets the needs of the people your business wants to attract and keep, you should first think about who those people might be. Once you have identified these types of people, think about what stage in life they may be at and what challenges they may have that your benefits can help to provide solutions to.

Some examples are:

People with no dependants may prefer:
  • Discounts and subsidiaries for everyday expenses
  • Financial advice
  • Access to mental and physical wellbeing support
  • Free access to professional development and support with career progression
  • A ‘work from anywhere’ approach to flexible working
People with young families may prefer:
  • Financial and mortgage advice
  • Private medical insurance that extends to partners and children
  • Flexible working hours to maintain a positive work-life balance
  • Income protection benefits
People at later stages in their career may prefer:
  • Generous pension contributions
  • Retirement planning advice
  • Eldercare support
  • Menopause support

The above just goes to show that different groups of people could find value in completely different things, and trying to design your employee benefits strategy to meet the needs of all these people could be a tricky (and costly) task. Regardless of what the rest of the market is doing, we encourage our clients to base their employee benefits strategy on what will appeal to the types of people that will help their business to grow.

Making your strategy count, first time round

While you can manage and oversee these strategies yourself, having a business partner like NFP by your side can help alleviate stress and make the process more seamless from start to finish. We’ll work with you, ensuring all the elements of your benefits strategy work in harmony together, linking the wider elements, such as ESG, DEI&B, CSR, and your EVP. Our consultants provide an end-to-end service, from crafting and evolving your strategy, to using our risk management, brokerage skills and provider relationships to find the best solutions for your needs. Wherever your business is on its journey, we’ll be there to support you when you need it.

Rethinking employee benefits benchmarking guide.

Want to know more?

In our latest free guide, ‘Why your 2024 employee benefits strategy shouldn’t be based on benchmarking’, we explore the ideas in this article in greater depth, as well as the following topics:

  • The importance of aiming for a diverse workforce
  • Why benchmarking may not be best for your business in 2024
  • Using your employee benefits strategy to better compete in the ‘war for talent’
  • How we can help you bring your new employee benefits strategy to life


Brian McKiernan, Head of Employee Benefits

We have the expertise and insights to help you ensure your benefits strategy is aligned to your business goals; helping you recruit, reward and retain the best talent. In turn, you gain more time to focus on your biggest asset – your people – whilst delivering an employee benefits strategy that meets your ever-changing business needs.
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