4 questions to ask when evaluating pre-tax employee benefits

It's important that pre-tax benefits do more than simply save employees money and also boost office morale.

When it comes time to evaluate which pre-tax benefit options to offer to your employees, there are many factors you need to consider. Obtaining the best possible plan requires you to know both what your employees want and also how the benefits fit within your business culture. While pre-tax benefits provide a way for your employees to save on commuting or parking expenses, finding the best benefit plan involves more than simply putting money back into employees’ pocket. Choosing the right pre-tax employee benefits should also recognize some otherwise intangible factors, such as office morale or ease of use.

Consider asking these four questions when evaluating the pros and cons of pre-tax employee benefits:

“Employees with lower stress levels and more money in their pocket are more productive.”

1. Does this save money?

Perhaps the prime motivator for most people is saving money, whether in the form of comparing online prices or bringing their own lunches to work everyday. Benefit offerings that help employees save money in the process provide a great incentive for them to participate and stay engaged in the program. Pre-tax benefits, such as Health Savings Accounts and Commuter Benefits, allow employees to fund these services before taxes are taken out, which saves them money in the long run.

2. Does this help office morale?

One of the biggest complaints people have about their jobs is not something that even happens at the workplace. It’s the commute to and from work each day. Traffic jams, delays, car troubles – they all tack on a layer of stress that transitions from the commute to other aspects of life, such as work or relaxation. While it’s a bit old, in a 2004 survey respondents said commuting was the least positive aspect of their day. In the ensuing decade, traffic and congestion have gotten worse, making commutes even less enjoyable. A recent survey revealed that drivers had the highest stress of any commuters. This stress gets carried over to work and can be a major detriment to employee productivity.

“Drivers commuting to work suffer from the greatest amount of stress.”

Offering employees a pre-tax commuter benefit program gives them the opportunity to both save money and ease their daily travels by using public transportation. With a greater sense of office morale, employees will be much more productive.

3. How easily can employees utilize the benefits?

If the pre-tax benefit program is too complicated to use or difficult to access, chances are your employees won’t take advantage of it. The purpose of a benefit is to be valuable for your employees and piles of paperwork and bureaucratic red-tape can turn the program into more of a hassle than the perceived value.

When evaluating potential plans, see which ones offer easy-to-use benefits, such a pre-paid credit cards for medical reimbursements or simple web portals for real-time access to health savings accounts.

4. How will external partners support the plan?

While pre-tax employee benefits should be focused on providing savings and greater personal well-being for your workers, it’s also important to keep your business in mind when evaluating different offerings. When you partner with a pre-tax benefits administrator, it’s important to know how they will support administration and compliance issues when they arise. Find out how responsibilities will be divided between both sides and make sure to find a partner that will work to help streamline the administrative and regulatory aspects of the program.

Click here to learn more about which factors to evaluate when considering pre-tax employee benefits.