Federal agencies looking to retain and attract talent know that they need to lean hard on their ability to offer good benefits as part of the overall compensation package. But the traditional benefits portfolio might not be enough.
A new survey, conducted from May to June 2021, shows the extent to which increased flexibility in benefits can influence how employees view their current workplace.
According to the survey, conducted by HealthEquity, just 65 percent of respondents indicated satisfaction with their employers during the pandemic. But that satisfaction was highly correlated with whether the employer increased the flexibility of employee benefits during 2020.
Seventy-two percent of employees whose employer expanded the flexibility of at least one benefit during the pandemic said they were satisfied with the support they received, compared with just 44 percent of those who received no additional flexibility.
The pandemic is more than just a backdrop to this survey. As noted in a recent blog post, the pandemic has triggered what is being called “The Great Resignation of 2021,” with a surge of people quitting their jobs and many more considering their job options.
In this increasingly fluid environment, agencies need to provide better incentives both for current employees to stay and for prospective employees to join their ranks. Flexible benefits need to be part of their game plan.
Fortunately, there is an important program already in place that could make a big difference – the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS).
With an FSA, employees have money automatically deducted from their paycheck before payroll taxes and put it into an account. They can then use their pre-tax FSA funds in this account throughout the plan year to pay for eligible healthcare or dependent care expenses. With an FSA, employees can save up to 30 percent on these eligible expenses.
According to the survey, nearly one in five employees ranked their FSA as among their top three most important employee benefits.
In a recent column, Megan Leonhardt, Senior Money Writer at CNBC, highlighted numerous ways that employees can put their FSA to work. That includes:
- Alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and chiropractor visits
- Vision expenses, such as cleaning solutions and cases for contact lenses
- Dental expenses, such as co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses
- Pregnancy expenses, such as pregnancy tests, fertility monitors and prenatal vitamins
- Miscellaneous items, such as braces and first-aid kits
With Federal Benefits Open Season concluding December 13, now is the time to see the difference that FSAFEDS can make.
Learn more about FSAFEDS.