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How to design an employee benefits program 

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday April 9, 2024

Employee benefits include health insurance, retirement savings plans, life insurance, tuition reimbursement programs, spending accounts, and more. Workers’ Compensation, Employment Insurance (EI), paid vacation, sick days, and employer payments to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) are all required by law, but many other benefits are optional.  

All of the different welfare and pension options available for workers are spelled out in the employee benefits program. A firm’s budget, objectives, and the demands of its employees all play a role in determining what kind of benefits the company can provide.

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group of excited employees standing around a laptop at a desk


Why is it vital to have an employee benefits program?  

Staff retention and engagement may be significantly boosted by offering attractive benefits packages. They aid workers in times of crisis or infirmity and may be used to recruit and retain top talent. 

When employees have access to benefits packages, it cuts down on the money spent on finding and training new workers. In sum, both employers and employees profit greatly from employee benefits programs. Boost your reputation using brand recognition as well as employee word of mouth by making sure your company offers a comprehensive benefits package to its employees.

3 employees laughing at a table together with a couple laptops and some notebooks.


Guidelines for Creating an Employee Benefits Program 

Here are some things to think about when creating an employee benefits program: 

Establish Goals 

As a first step, examine the requirements of both your business and your staff. The ideal location for your benefits package is between these two goals. Consider the following when formulating organizational plans based on benefits: how does this relate to our company mission? 

To be a market leader, you must provide for your workers’ fundamental needs, such as health insurance and retirement. Factors such as company size, geography, industry, and labor union contracts should all be considered when setting goals. 

Consider Employee Requirements 

Asking employees themselves, employing a method like a benefits survey, is one of the most excellent methods to learn which employee benefits program is meaningful and helpful to them. If you decide to do this, ensure you can realistically incorporate their feedback into your final choice. If you already provide benefits to your staff, reviewing that plan is another helpful method for gauging their requirements. 

give employees at a boardroom table with laptops, listening to a speaker standing at the head of the table with a projector.


Perform Market Research 

Employee benefit packages must be developed in collaboration with the realities of the labor market. The proportion of people who accept an offer is partly influenced by how it compares to those made by rivals. Do market research to find out what the benefit packages of your top rivals look like. Even if you want to avoid imitating your competitors’ strategies, you must ensure your products and services can hold their own. 

Develop A Budget 

You have more information to work with if you already provide benefits to your employees. Otherwise, you’ll have to rely on estimates. You should add 15%-40% to your workers’ basic salary. After that, you may start shopping around for prices and assembling the employee benefits program that works within your means. Be careful to include the cost of any anticipated new personnel in your budget projections. 

Focus on Benefits 

Outline the essential and desirable perks for your employees based on the objectives and requirements you identified. The best way to determine which perks your workforce will use is to survey them and then incorporate that feedback. 

For example, it’s possible that tuition reimbursement is a highly sought-after perk but is of interest to a small subset of entry-level workers. This perk may take a back seat to others, like access to telemedicine or mental health therapy, which may help more people. 

Think about how your employee benefits program could affect your ability to attract new employees. If you need middle management, it makes sense to focus on perks that are more likely to appeal to that level of employee, such as paid time off for family caregiving or health insurance with a low deductible.  

Examine the Results 

The workforce and your company’s benefits package should continuously develop. Keeping tabs on and monitoring metrics like use, cost, and progress is essential.  

To better control expenses and get access to specialized knowledge, you may want to use an outsourced human resources information system (HRIS) or benefits provider. You can attract and retain top people and boost productivity by constantly assessing and fine-tuning your employee benefits program to meet the demands of your workforce. 

two men at a desk shaking hands over a contract file.



Creating a well-thought-out employee benefits program that offers a digital employee benefits platform is crucial. Employees want quick, easy access to their benefits plan, and most have no patience for snail mail and paper claims. Benefits packages should also be tailored to the age, gender, and number of workers at your company. The right employee benefits help businesses retain their best employees and increase productivity and morale in the workplace.  

Ready to start designing your employee benefits plan?

Determining an Employee Benefits Philosophy for a Multigenerational Workforce