Starting a new job with a new employer is a more complex process than one may perceive. It seems as simple as seeing an opening, applying, interviewing, and starting a new job – on the surface, anyway. Beyond that though, there’s all these administrative intricacies that new employees often have to go through before actually getting started on their new position, and it can be confusing.
Payroll taxes, 401ks, employee sponsored healthcare, health savings accounts, contribution limits, employer matches, sick days, paid-leave, vacation time, union membership – the list goes on, with many employers offering things unique to them.
What do these all have in common though? They’re all a part of benefit enrollment, a process which almost every employee, especially full-time ones, must go through in order to reap their rewards. It seems like a lot – and it truly can be from an employee’s perspective – which is why many employers utilize a TPA (third party administrator) to facilitate and administer their benefits packages.
What Exactly are Benefits Though? Why Do You Get Them?
Benefits are extra add-ons employers offer to their workforce in addition to their salaries or expected hourly rates, because just taking home the paycheck doesn’t often do enough. Employers will offer things such as retirement accounts, healthcare, and opportunities for unpenalized time off to employees who meet certain criteria or working hours requirements.
This can all be a complex process as each of these benefits are industries within their own right that require self-education to understand completely and ensure the employee makes shrewd decisions with their benefits packages. TPAs like BeneQuick and others make this process a bit simpler and more efficient for employees, who would much rather just focus on the career they’ve actually signed up for.
The benefits market can be just as competitive as the salary one in today’s working world, especially in countries where healthcare is mostly a private business and you’re left to find your own provider if an employer doesn’t provide it. The same can be said for retirement accounts, with employers often offering what’s known as an “employer match” up to a certain amount or percentage of your own annual contributions to the account. This forces businesses and corporations to compete with one another to provide the best benefits packages.
Why Do Employers Want to Provide Benefits?
Employers offer benefits to their employees because it shows that they’re invested in them in more ways than just what they can do for them. A salary is an expected compensation for work done on behalf of someone else, and so it can be viewed as an equal trade benefiting both parties.
Providing benefits goes slightly above and beyond this though. By providing extra benefits to employees such as healthcare, retirement, time off, and other various add-ons, it signifies that the employer is engaged in your life and success as a whole, not just what you can do for the business. It’s an attempt to make business less about business and more about helping both you and your employer create good lives.
By providing healthcare at the cost of a reasonable deduction from your check, an employer provides support for you and your family’s health with plans often extending beyond just the employed party. By also providing employees with retirement planning options that are sponsored and matched at times, they make planning for the future a bit simpler and show that they’re invested in your long-term fruitfulness beyond just the time you spend with the company.
Although all of these things can be obtained on your own, and some employees may even elect to go this route in some cases, the opportunity to have it all handled through one source simplifies the process a good bit. Consolidation isn’t always a good thing but, in the case of getting the necessities of life taken care of and some of the administrative work automated on your behalf, this is typically a win-win situation for you as an employee.
Understand Your Benefits Packages and Take Advantage
Once you learn that your employer offers certain benefits, whether it be the whole menu or just a couple, it’s important to take the time to understand them first so you can utilize them to your fullest benefit. Take the time to read the fine print as an up-front investment so you save time later, and also mitigate the amount of confusions or miscommunications you’ll encounter in the future.
Optimize your benefits package for you and your goals, and then reap the benefits as long as you can.