Benefits packages for the ever-changing workforce

As more and more jobs become available, human resources professionals have to get creative when attracting and retaining employees.

Dental insurance agency Delta Dental of Arizona continuously finds innovative ways to meet the insurance-related needs of its customers and its own employees.  

It offers plans to fit varying budgets and company sizes, and it covers more than one million people in Arizona.

“All of our group rates for business- if it’s under 200- basically got a rate pass. We left everything flat this year because we understand- we’re a small business, too. We have 110 employees,” said Jason Neifield, Delta Dental of Arizona HR director.

He added, “The more we can help our customers contain costs, the more innovative they can be with their benefits packages or in salary or whatever they want to do for their folks.”

In Arizona and in states across the U.S. job openings are plentiful, so workers have more to choose from.

“Right now, in this economy as we’ve had for the last couple of years it’s really an employee’s market. And, when we’re interviewing candidates, they’re interviewing us,” Neifield explained.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 7.1 million job openings on the last business day in February.

In order to stay ahead of the competition, Delta Dental works to avoid turnover by meeting the needs of its employees and potential employees.

“When you invest in your people whether it’s through training or our tuition reimbursement [or] whatever the case may be, we’re getting people to stay put,” Neifield said. “I’m seeing when I speak to candidates when I have openings and it doesn’t matter what the role is, we’re seeing a lot more focus on benefits.”

Neifield stressed the importance of educating new employees on the benefits that are available, so they can determine the best plan and utilize it throughout their employment.

“What I try to do during the onboarding process, if people want it, I will sit down one-on-one with them- again, we’re a smaller company and we can do that- to try to figure out what’s best for them and make them understand why different design plans may be better or worse given their situation,” Neifield said.

The workforce landscape is ever-changing, so it is important to stay on top of upcoming trends and continuously work to attract and maintain employees.

“When it’s an employer market, you don’t really have to innovate as much, unfortunately. In this market, we’re doing all we can to attract and retain. We are looking at all kinds of different things right now to attract more people and to retain more people,” Neifield explained.

Neifield said Delta Dental shows its employees they are valued by offering two hours, twice a year for a teeth cleaning without having to use their vacation time or paid-time-off.

“People stick around and people feel valued when they know that their employer is investing in them,” Neifield said.

Sierra Ciaramella

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