The Human Life Cycle in Employee Benefits Management

Introduction

Employee non-cash benefit is the employee retention component in an employee total rewards program. It is a cash-equivalent benefit that the employee stands to enjoy should he or she be eligible for it.

The employee may not be receiving cash for the benefit, but the company has to pay for the benefit which the employee is enjoying. Hence some companies are taking to providing their employees with compensation statements to give the employees the complete picture of what they are receiving in dollar value. You may want to note that some benefits are exempt from taxation, whilst others are subject to taxation.

Short of doing an employee survey every year, how can the compensation and benefits specialist get a better idea of what benefits that employees will look forward to receiving?

Fringe Benefits

Employee benefits used to be called fringe benefits when the benefits were tied to the position that the employee held in the company’s organizational structure. Overtime, because some companies found that fringe benefits became a dividing wall between employees as well as an ego booster for some employees, they were re-oriented to cater to the needs of employees by a combination of standardized types of employee benefit offerings for all employees but different quantum for different clusters of job grades.

For the compensation and benefits specialists with business acumen, they also recognized that certain fringe benefit offers are best taken off the table and left for the utilization of the company’s business, such as car park spaces, corner offices, different sizes of office desks, different type of office chairs. If car park spaces are limited, don’t you think the salesmen and not the CEO should be the ones who are allotted the space? The CEO would have his or her performance shares to content with.

What Benefits To Offer?

The outcome of the above direction was the flexible benefit plan. The plan is primarily on the employee’s life stage. Even if a company has no intention to adopt a flexible benefit plan, nevertheless, it forms a useful basis even for refreshing traditional employee benefits.

Stages in the Human Life Cycle

There are different variations of description on the human life cycle. My chart below is adaption of:

  • The stages in the human life cycle as described by Barry Bogin in Chapter 7 (Modern Life History: The Evolution of Human Childhood and Fertility) from the book “The Evolution of Human Life History,” edited by Kristen Hawkes and Richard R. Paine.
  • Child Development Stages described by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA.

The stages are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Neonatal period: Birth to 28 days.
  • Infancy: Second month to end of lactation, usually by 36 months.(Toddlers: 1 to 3 years)
  • Childhood: 3 to 7 years.(Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years)
  • Juvenile 7 to 10 for girls; 7 to 12 years for boys(Puberty: An event of short duration (days or a few weeks) at the end of the juvenile stage; Middle Childhood: 6 to 11 years; Young teens:12 to 14 years; Teenagers: 15 to 17 years)
  • Adolescence: 10 to 19 years
  • Young Adults: 18 to 35 years
  • Middle-ages Adults: 36 to 55 years
  • Older Adults: Aged older than 55 years
  • Young Old: 60 to 60 years
  • Middle Old: 70 to 79 years
  • Very Old: Over 80 years

You can see how these life stages tie into employee benefits, such as maternity leave, bereavement leave, school bursary, medical benefits, hospitalization insurance and pensions.

Implied Factors

The implied factors that will influence employee benefits offer are age, gender, marital status, number of dependents.

Concluding Remarks

It is no coincidences that financial planners, financially savvy individuals, insurance companies also use the life stages in financial planning or product offers.

 

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