employee benefits

Give Yourself a Raise During Open Enrollment

As open enrollment season approaches, employees should keep in mind that, while the annual rite of making changes to employee benefits can be a bit of a chore, it's also an opportunity to boost your total compensation.

Benefits often make up at least one-third of most employees’ total compensation packages, so making sure to take full advantage of the benefits that are available is critical.

One of the easiest places to find “free money” is to contribute to your 401(k) or other workplace savings plan at least enough to get the full employer match. Contributing less means that you’re leaving money on the table – money that can be used to build a nest egg for the future.

Of course, there are other areas to pay attention to – checking carefully to make sure you are choosing the optimum level of health insurance, taking advantage of opportunities to purchase life and disability insurance, etc. The key is remembering that benefits are a significant part of what makes up your total rewards package – and in order to maximize those rewards, be sure to choose wisely during open enrollment.

Health Benefits Not Going Away Anytime Soon

A recent article in Bloomberg Business notes that, despite predictions of their demise at the hand of ObamaCare, health-care benefits are not going away anytime soon. 

One interesting nugget from the article: according to a recent survey conducted by SHRM, 33 percent of the HR professionals surveyed said that they used their organization's benefits program to retain employees, compared with 18 percent who said that they used benefits as a means of retention in 2012. 

In the current era of stagnant wages, employers increasingly view their benefits offerings as a key component of recruitment and retention efforts. And while there are certainly worries about the looming Cadillac tax along with the ever-present concerns about the rise in health-care costs, employers don't appear to be rushing to exit the health benefits business.