What is a benefit really?

Mar 19, 2012
One of the things we find fascinating is the way that words get used without always defining  what they mean. We’re Benefits Consultants and so we have a big interest in “benefits”. The word has more than one meaning though, and knowing what it really means can have a big impact on a business.
 
A benefit is an advantage or some positive gain. That seems simple enough, but then we ask ourselves, “do people really see the benefit in Benefits (Employee Benefits, Group Retirement Services, etc.)?”
Sometimes a company is putting Employee Benefits in place simply because they feel they “have to” – they have employees and feel they should have something that shows they care. Other times, companies are very definite  about their Benefits. They see the Benefits Plan as an amplifier to the message, “our team matters to us and we want to look out for you.” Still other times, it’s to ensure that a company is more competitive than other firms.
To see the real benefit in a Benefits plan, however, one has to start with knowing why you are putting a plan  in place. What is the outcome you want? Here are a few reasons our clients have shared with us over the last 20 years:

 

  • “We do specialized work and it’s hard to replace someone if they leave because the skills are so rare. Benefits help keep them.”
  • “If it’s a showdown between us and another firm, I want the Benefits to tip the scales in our favour.”
  • “Valuing our team isn’t just something on the board room wall, we mean it and we invest in it.”
  • “The more we keep our employees’ mind’s free from worry, the more they can concentrate on the business.”
  • “We’re among the best at the work we do, we want to be among the best at caring for our staff.”
 

In the final analysis, a benefit is only beneficial if you receive an advantage or positive gain from it. You and your company have to define that, and then work with a firm to put a Benefit Plan in place to ensure it happens. Benefits are only a “benefit” if they are planned properly.
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