Real Life

3 Ways to Ask Your HR Team for a New Benefit

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Chances are the human resources team at your employer makes a concerted effort to provide a well-rounded benefits package – one that’s competitive in the industry and appeals to as many employees as possible.

But when it comes to offering a specific benefit you want, they aren’t mind readers. If there’s a benefit or service that may help you – and possibly others in your organization – it helps to be a bit proactive and constructive in your benefit request. Here are three ways to go about it:

1. Make sure you respond to employee communications.

Too many employees wait until their exit interview to exclaim, “I wish benefit X would have been offered at Company ABC.” Don’t miss your opportunity to have your voice heard and make your requests known. This means responding to employee surveys and asking questions during benefit seminars, as well as checking the intranet for updates and paying attention to company communications regarding new or changing benefits.

2. Even better? Get the conversation started.

You don’t necessarily have to wait for HR to ask you what benefits you want. Take the initiative and contact an HR benefits liaison via email or schedule a quick meeting. Be sure to describe your situation or need, not just the benefit. This helps HR connect the dots on how the benefit could improve employees’ lives, both at home and at work.

For example, when a person is asking to add pet insurance, what they’re really asking for is a way to deal with escalating vet bills for a puppy they just adopted. You probably won’t hear an employee lament, “I could really use a legal insurance plan right now.” But what they might say is, “I’m going through a divorce and could really use some legal assistance.” Or, “I’m thinking of filing bankruptcy and need to understand the pros and cons.”

3. Do a little homework first.

When you go to HR with your request, back up your request with some examples. Ask a spouse, friend or family member if their employers provide the benefit you have in mind – or any other innovative benefits that have improved their quality of life. Do a quick online search to gather more information about the benefit, as well as the costs (or possibly the lack thereof) it may take to implement. You might be surprised that some outside-the-box benefits, ranging offering family-focused time off options to help new parents or providing one-on-one financial counseling for employees, are more easily implemented than you imagined.

And if you’re wanting to back up your case with a little supporting data, that’s good too. For instance, did you know that 93% of organizations now offer telemedicine or telehealth offerings to their team members? Going back to the legal insurance example, 72% of consumers said having access to legal insurance through their employer would be extremely valuable or somewhat valuable.

Bonus tip:

If HR doesn’t implement your benefit request, don’t be discouraged. Even if their response is “No,” it may just mean, “Not right now.” Keep in mind, your HR team has to weigh the costs of adding the benefit, as 61 percent of HR professionals say they are tasked with finding ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency as a priority. They also want to be prudent in reviewing the time and effort it takes to implement and administer it, not to mention ensuring it’s a utilized benefit that can provide value for employees. So give them a little time (and some grace!) as they consider your request. At least you’ve put it on their radar.

That said, it’s not so much about, “I’m just one person, what difference can I make?” but rather this: Remind yourself that if you have a need, you’re probably not the only one who can gain from the new offering. Continue to be an advocate for yourself and others. Because at the end of the day, it never hurts to ask.


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