Businessolver Blog

What Empathy in Benefits Look Like

What Empathy in Benefits Look Like
Posted on Friday, July 7, 2023 by Darius Clay

Empathetic benefits go beyond surface-level offerings and provide a well-rounded and inclusive program that supports employees’ total wellbeing.  

Empathetic benefits recognize that employees’ wellbeing extends well beyond their physical health. Having a well-rounded mix of benefits is critical to an empathetic and inclusive workplace. Offering programs to support total wellbeing makes employees feel valued and ensures their needs are being met.  

Businessolver’s latest empathy data shows that there’s a 60-point average gap between what employees want and whats offered.

Benefits are one of the top ways you can show your employees that you care. If you’ve been reading the news lately, employees are looking high and low for any indication that their employer sees them as a person, not just a number on payroll.  

So what do empathetic benefits look like?

Flexibility is the top empathetic benefit

With over 134 million people employed full-time in the U.S. today, personalization may seem like an impossible undertaking. Personalization is really as simple as listening to your employees and helping them feel heard and understood. Our Empathy data shed a little light on what benefits most employees rank as highly important: 

  • Mental health coverage (92%) 
  • Having an open-door policy to foster communication between employees, managers, and HR (92%) 
  • EAPs (91%) 
  • Flexible work hours (91%) 
  • Encouraging time off (90%) 

Giving people the ability to live their lives tops the list for empathetic benefits. The key to helping employees feel heard and supported with these benefits is to market it to them so they know what benefits exist and why they matter.

Building benefits awareness with your employees 

Remember that small gap we talked about earlier? The 30-point gap in what employees want versus what’s offered? It has a sibling: a 20-point average gap between what’s offered in that top-wanted benefits list and what employees actually use.  

For us, the data speaks loud and clear: your benefits program doesn’t mean much if employees don’t know about it. While benefits understanding and confusion can take partial responsibility here, benefits communication is a fundamental aspect to driving successful engagement. Our insights data shows that meaningful communication can drive great results for visibility and utilization across your benefits program: 46% of employees open and read benefits-related emails, nearly double the average marketing email open rate. 

Proactive support and advocacy for employee wellbeing 

Empathy in benefits involves actively supporting employees in their wellbeing journey, from finances to mental health to time away. Employers can’t anticipate every single need that might arise for their employees, but a diverse suite of benefits can make the difference between an employee feeling lost versus having a resource (or three) to turn to in their time of need.  

Employers should think beyond just the standard medical-dental-vision and look at where they can provide proactive support. This can include offering wellness programs, mental health resources, career development, and financial support (did you know that 45% of employees said they’d feel panicked about a surprise medical expense?). By taking an active role in supporting your workforce, your benefits can help foster a culture of empathy, understanding, and growth. 

Regularly evaluating empathy in your benefits

An empathetic benefits program is a dynamic one. Empathy in benefits acknowledges that employees’ needs evolve over time, requiring continuous evaluation. Organizations that genuinely value empathy in benefits regularly solicit feedback from employees through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one conversations. They use this feedback to refine and enhance their offerings, ensuring they remain relevant, meaningful, and supportive. 

Empathy in benefits isn’t just about ticking boxes or fulfilling legal requirements. It’s an ongoing journey that requires consistent effort, open communication, and commitment to understanding and meeting the diverse needs of your employees. Organizations that embrace empathy create a positive and supportive workplace culture, leading to increased employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.