Flexible Benefits Program at Ernst & Young
Hiring employees and retaining the talented ones has become more challenging and human resource professionals are taking advantage of employee benefits as a strategic tool to recruit and retain. The 2016 survey findings of strategic benefits found that the taut job market will accommodate employers who present themselves as one of choice by providing benefit options appealing to a wide employee demographics range (Noe et al., 2017). It is highly likely that altering the employee benefits fulfils the needs of a dynamic workforce. Benefits like retirement, healthcare, and leave are the ones that are highly valued thus enhancements going that direction would help improve an employer’s proposition of value. It is in this way that the Flexible Benefits Program was created. This enables the employees to select benefits based on their needs and wants from a program package issued by the employer. This program has gained increasing popularity among employers especially Ernst and Young which is among the Big Four Accounting Firms in the world.
As aforementioned, the flexible benefits program is an efficient strategy for compensation. This program may be inclusive of retirement benefits, for example, 401(k) plans, health insurance, and reimbursement accounts. In such a program, employees give their contribution towards the benefits’ costs through deductions on their income before-tax hence, the employer’s contribution is also reduced (Martocchio, 2011). Additionally, the opportunity to chip in for the benefits with income that is pre-taxed lowers significantly the income that will be taxable, thereby increasing the takeaway income amount- an added advantage. Child care and health care costs have drastically risen over the past few decades, thus the ability to offer benefits for most companies have been crippled. The rising popularity of the program has left employees expectant of benefits since they are employed. Therefore, it is important to understand how best these programs can be implemented to avoid difficulties while looking at Ernst and Young’s flexible benefits plan.
With Ernst and Young, the traditional method of remunerations packages on the basis of cash is enhanced with other types of benefits such as in kind. The employee selects the preferred mix based on personal needs. Their flexible strategies improve employee corporate success, engagement and satisfaction. EY also helps other companies implement such strategies. Their integrated remuneration services focus on what the objectives of the organization are while ensuring they are putting into consideration the governance and regulatory requirements provided by the Italian authorities ((Ernst & Young, 2012). They also ensure that benefits treatments are at par with the Italian tax legislation.
EY flexible working environment cannot be ignored. It has been able to attract, develop and retain the best talent through such benefits. Beginning from working through reduced hours to using FS Analytics and Data to balance personal commitments, EY has shown an exquisite balance of both organizational and client needs such that professionals could build their careers and still pursue personal priorities (Shockley, Thompson & Andreassi, 2013).
First, Ernst and Young offers benefits such as pension plans. This retirement plan type matches less with 401 (k) especially for the first two years of employment. Secondly, it gives both maternal and fraternal leaves of up to four months which is good for employees who would want to have kids in the future; hence they get to achieve both personal and career goals. Thirdly, is a health insurance plan that is a preferred provider organization (PPO). This allows employees to visit any in-network healthcare provider or physician without waiting for a referral from a physician initially in charge of primary care. EY’s PPO health insurance plan utilizes cost-sharing to keep the costs at bay. After an individual has seen the physician, the individual pays for part of the expense in deductibles form and the other part is taken care of by the organization (Shockley, Thompson & Andreassi, 2013). They have an additional fifteen days paid time off (PTO) and a very generous sick days policy up to eight days.
Both EY and employees have enjoyed massive advantages brought by the Flexible Benefits Plan and they include support of balance between life and work and increased employee satisfaction due to their power of choice and added value (Shockley, Thompson & Andreassi, 2013). There is also increased efficiency of remuneration packages since they are tailor-made to the employees’ needs. The types of benefits are not rigid as remuneration in kind presents a wide benefits range. It improves cost efficiency for the workforce and the organization as well as the market’s reinforcement of the corporate brand.
However, the success of the aforementioned benefits needs planning. The planning process starts with the analysis of the plan of remuneration and the feasibility of the plan. A survey is conducted to get data on employee preferences and a plan is presented alongside options of implementation. Implementation follows including expectations alignment, market research, design and plan processes. It also includes modification of labour contracts if possible and training teams in charge of payrolls. The next step is communication which improves their engagement as well as knowledge of the remuneration plan. Lastly, monitoring in which there will be the periodical assessment of whether employees are satisfied and also the organization’s cost reduction (Ernst & Young, 2012).
The most appetizing move to the employees is through the incorporation of the flexible benefits plan. This is a strategy that has enabled talented employees hiring, development as well as retention. Ernst and Young is a successful accounting organization because of their tailor-made benefits and their integrated mix of both cash and kind. With generational differences, younger generations will start looking for benefits such as tuition reimbursements or assistance in paying off student loans. HR professionals are required to balance these benefits and at the same time control the benefits’ costs…
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