7 tips to get the most out of your benefits this year
by Nayya January 12, 2024
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When evaluating career opportunities and job satisfaction, most people think about their base salary, bonuses, and company equity. But they may be overlooking an important piece of the puzzle.
Research shows that employees may leave up to 30% of their base salary on the table by not using their employee benefits to the fullest extent. A comprehensive benefits package can significantly enhance your overall compensation, improve your quality of life, and boost career satisfaction.
7 tips to optimize your employee benefits
Understand your benefits package
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the variety of benefits your employer offers. Check your employee handbook or talk to your HR team for detailed information.
Maximize employer-matching programs
Take advantage of employer-matching programs for retirement (401k) and health savings accounts (HSA). If it’s within your means, try to contribute enough to receive the employer match—this is essentially free money that can significantly grow your savings over time.
Check out Continuing Education to uplevel your skillset
Explore opportunities for continuing education and upskilling that your employer might offer. Some companies may provide tuition reimbursement, while others may offer discounted rates for online training programs or workplace certifications, especially in technological fields.
Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning are popular, but ask about proprietary training or publicly available subscription platforms that your employer may fund or reimburse.
Note which benefits are portable
Be aware of the portability of certain benefits when considering a job change. Understand vesting schedules for 401(k)s and know which accounts, like HSAs, can be taken with you as you move from employer to employer.
Look for wellness perks
Many companies offer lifestyle benefits, such as gym membership reimbursements or financial education programs. These perks contribute to a healthier work-life balance, which can lead to increased job satisfaction.
Regularly review your benefits package
Employee benefits can evolve, and your personal needs may change. Make it a habit to review your benefits at least once every 3 months, especially during open enrollment season, to ensure your selections align with your current situation.
Check out your Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) providing various services, devices, and tools to support you in and outside of the office. While names may vary, these programs are often free through a third-party provider. Examples of services within your EAP include confidential mental health support, financial advice, legal guidance, and assistance with estate and will preparation. Check with your HR team for details on how to access your company’s EAP: employers usually provide information about these programs in benefits documents or the employee handbook.
By following these tips and checking in on your benefits package year-round, you can get the most out of your benefits this year and tap into its fullest potential for you and your family.
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