For freelancers, flexibility is king. This is not to say they do not crave a certain level of stability and security that comes in part from benefit packages offered by companies, but they crave and value their freedom to move and work A LOT, more than previous generations in a very distinct way. That is why Flexible Benefits is an important key concept for company HR teams to understand and implement.
Technology facilitates flexibility
Stable nine-to-five jobs with fixed benefits packages will continue to exist because, after all, depending on your business model, industry and field, a stable and predictable environment is perhaps the best way to operate. But even that could change with technology and future innovations.
In an age where conducting meetings and interviews on Skype, sharing data through Dropbox, team group discussions on Whastapp, or getting connected via LinkedIn is the norm, it would make sense that companies design their benefits plans to reflect an increasingly hyper-mobile workforce, namely flexible benefits.
Benefits differ from individuals to individuals
Understanding (work) motivation, where it comes from, how to create, foster or change is key in designing benefit packages. For Millennials, particularly freelancers, having autonomy and control over one’s work, business, or craft is an essential element from which they derive fulfillment. So why not give them the same control and autonomy on the design of their benefits packages. Offering flexible benefits packages to your flexible workforce could play a decisive role in maintaining and developing the Millennial talent pool.
Implementing Personalized Flexible Benefit Plans
While the idea of personalized benefits plans is one dreaded by administrators the world over, it might actually save overall costs of benefit packages. How is this possible? Well, the way that companies go about flexible benefits is that they assign a budget, say $2000 per employee, and let the employee choose from the company’s benefits catalog: medical (single or family), dental, life, gym memberships, etc. This way, employees are able to spend their budget according to their preference and needs. In other words, you can now turn the personalized benefits plans into a flexible benefits plan.
While some employees might actually use up the entire budget, many of them will not. So the $2000 that would have been otherwise spent entirely on a fixed plan for each employee might not be the total cost for the company. This not only tailors employee benefits to their needs, but also makes them feel that they are in control, they have a say over their well-being and they belong to a community. And will, more likely than not, increase employee satisfaction with their benefits package and the company as a whole. And as they say, a happy employee is a loyal and productive one.