When employees compare: addressing the "My Neighbour's Benefits Are Better" dilemma

We live in a time of connectivity and continuous information exchange, where casual conversations over fences and digital platforms can spark unexpected insights. As employers, perhaps you’ve occasionally heard an employee making comparisons: "My neighbour's benefits are better" or "I pay more for my benefits than my friend does at her job". While it's easy to dismiss these comments, they offer an opportunity to engage, understand, and possibly innovate your benefits package in a way that aligns deeply with what your talent base wants.

Consider these proactive steps you can take when faced with such feedback: 

  1. Create a culture of open and constructive feedback: Let your people know that they are in a culture where they are heard and understood. Set up channels that enable you to listen to your employees before you cater solutions. Encourage employees to share details on what they need. Maybe they're impressed by a unique wellness program, or perhaps they've seen a more transparent pricing structure elsewhere that you can learn from and potentially implement without a lot of change to your scope or budget.

    Possible action: Organize quarterly feedback sessions or anonymous surveys where employees can voice their opinions and provide specifics about other benefits they may have encountered.

  2.  Benchmark and educate: Regularly benchmark your benefits package against industry standards and competitors. This not only ensures you stay competitive but also highlights areas of strength and differentiation. Once you have insights, be sure to communicate them. Often, employees are not aware of the full value of what they receive. Workshops and other interactive educational sessions can be helpful to create better adoption of the benefits you already offer.

    Possible action: Set up a session on your current benefits and leverage visuals. Infographics or side-by-side comparisons can easily convey the value and uniqueness of your benefits package compared to industry norms; or illustrate what’s new.

  3. Focus on continuous improvement: Benefits aren't static. What was highly valued five years ago might be table stakes today. Keep abreast with changing trends, particularly since we’re collectively dealing with a post-pandemic workforce. Think about your benefits holistically and focus on continuous improvement. For example, maybe your people would appreciate mental health days, or a subscription to an online fitness class, that you can implement quickly.

    Possible action: One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to benefits. Remember to personalize where possible. Offer flexible benefits, where employees can pick and choose based on their personal needs. You can achieve this by engaging with third-party benefit consultants, and platforms that allow for modular and personalized benefits selection.

Remember, it’s not unusual for employees to compare and evaluate their benefits. View it as a sign that you have smart people on your team! Create the frameworks you need to listen, offer education, and ensure that the benefits you offer align with your overall talent philosophy.

Looking for strategic support to make your benefits package stand out and resonate with your employees? We can help. Please send us a note and a member of our team will be in touch with you.