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5 Tried and True Benefits You Shouldn’t Cut During the Coronavirus Crisis

Posted on March 30th, 2020
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Only a couple of months ago, workers held all the cards in the job market. The coronavirus pandemic changed everything. Now, businesses and workers alike are struggling to make ends meet and plan for the future. Companies looking for new talent face new questions about how to attract and retain that talent during and after the crisis. Despite the concerns about revenues and the future, there are benefits you shouldn’t cut during the coronavirus crisis. 

NBC reports that job losses from the coronavirus could number into the millions. Ordinarily, this would start a trend in which companies can be more selective about whom they hire. However, changing social norms and expectations continue to cloud the future of the job market. More workers will temporarily compete for fewer jobs. But, the most qualified hires will find themselves more valuable than ever before.

The Value of Competitive Benefits

Whether looking to hire for senior leadership positions or simply fill the ranks, businesses in the post-coronavirus world must offer competitive benefits packages to attract and retain effective workforces. Companies that attempt to use this opportunity to go cheap will suffer in the long run. They will face high turnover rates and disgruntled workforces. Workers recognize the difference between a respectful employer and an opportunistic one. And, they will remember whether their leaders acted with integrity.

Businesses have both moral and financial incentives to offer benefits packages employees actually want. In times of economic turmoil, companies should evaluate their benefits offerings. They should consider which perks genuinely affect employee morale and attract prospect interest. A company wasting thousands of dollars per month on needless benefits only a handful of people use would do better by redirecting that money into more meaningful perks.

You may be surprised by the perks your employees enjoy most. Therefore, don’t throw out all so-called “tried and true” benefits before considering how they affect your ability to attract and retain the best workers. As you guide your company through these challenging times, these are the benefits you shouldn’t cut during the coronavirus pandemic:

1. Investment Vehicles and Advice

During periods of financial hardship, people want to feel confident in their investment strategies. Businesses can help employees enjoy that confidence by offering small business 401(k) plans and providing access to financial advisors who can help employees understand their financial positions and goals. 

Look for a 401(k) provider that offers straightforward pricing and low-cost investment funds. With the stock market being low, employees starting a 401(k) account for the first time may be able to pick up stocks in their portfolio at a better price.

2. Generous Parental Assistance

Businesses struggling with lost revenue may balk at the idea of paying employees to stay home, but today’s employees place heavy value on work-life balance. While some managers worry about new parents using up leave and not coming back, companies that extend maternity leave experience significant increases in women returning to work. 

Paternity leave also increases retention and on-the-job engagement. Companies can also offer daycare assistance or onsite daycare services to help parents manage their busy lives.

3. On-Demand Flexibility

The coronavirus pandemic forced companies in industries that have so far resisted the allure of remote work to embrace change. Many businesses have struggled to make the adjustment. When the smoke clears, employees who realized the benefits of working from home will expect to retain that ability.

Employers should take this opportunity to expand their remote work capabilities. They can evelop remote-friendly workflows and policies and crunch the numbers on leading primarily remote workforces.

4. Pet-Friendly Policies

Research from 2019 found that pet-friendly workplaces outperform their peers regarding office relationships, long-term retention, and employee engagement, all of which correlate strongly with productivity. Companies with pet-friendly policies appeal greatly to millennials and Gen Zers, and welcoming pets costs almost nothing compared to more robust benefits. In addition to welcoming pets at work, consider offering subsidized pet insurance. While much cheaper than human insurance, pet insurance can make a big difference when pet owners consider job offers.

5. Fitness Facilitation

Employees want to take care of their bodies, but work often gets in the way. Employers who offer fitness memberships or on-site gyms can help employees stay active without breaking the bank or wasting precious minutes commuting from one place to another. Research published in 2017 found that 39% of jobseekers would give some or heavy consideration toward companies that offer free gym memberships. 

As many people have discovered during the quarantine, online classes can also help people stay active. Look into group discounts for online memberships to pair with remote-friendly policies and keep employees in all locations healthy and active.

Putting Your Team First

Perks like free gym memberships or robust parental leave may sound like luxuries during a time of tightened belts, but don’t let the distress of the moment prevent you from onboarding the best workers for your business. Evaluate benefits based on how they help employees live the lives they want. When you put your team first, everything else falls naturally into place. Then, it’s clear there are benefits you shouldn’t cut during the coronavirus outbreak or during future crises. 


Peter Daisyme

Peter Daisyme

Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.

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