By Catie Grigsby
Why Voluntary Benefits Play a Lead Role in Your Employee Retention Strategy
Employee retention is top of mind for the majority of HR teams as open positions begin to outnumber qualified candidates. And with slower-than-expected wage growth, companies have to step up their game to offer more of what employees want. Luckily, employees are looking for more than just what's in their paycheck—71 percent of employees say they would leave their current employer for another job offering better benefits.
Sure, health, dental and vision are a good start to meeting employee expectations. However, you're likely limited in the choice you can provide across those plans. That's where voluntary benefits come in.
The voluntary benefits market has exploded with innovative products that give you an opportunity to really differentiate yourself as an employer of choice and provide the personalization employees are looking for in a benefits package.
And when you think about the top strategic goals employers typically have for their benefits program, you'll find they align with what matters to employees:
GOAL: Provide employees with access to affordable and quality health care while controlling health care costs for the company.
Three-quarters of employees agree that keeping them healthy should be one of the top goals of their employer's benefits program. And health care still ranks as the most important benefit in the eyes of workers. But as companies have responded to rising health care costs by increasing employee' out-of-pocket responsibility, health care less has become less affordable for employees. In fact, nearly 50 percent of employees say they have difficulty affording their deductible.
As a result, we've seen employer and employee contributions to consumer-directed healthcare accounts grow significantly over the past few years. Telemedicine, wellness programs, and prescription drug discounts are just a few other ways companies can supplement core medical plans and show their commitment to keeping employees healthy.
GOAL: Protect employees’ financial well-being, so they have peace of mind to be productive and retire on time.
Nearly half of employees report they worry about personal finances during working hours. A similar proportion of employers say that personal financial issues impact employees' overall job performance, according to IFEBP's 2018 Financial Education Survey, which listed the following as top sources of financial stress for employees:
Credit cards and other debt
Trouble saving for retirement
Paying medical expenses
Traditional income-protection benefits such as critical illness, accident and hospital indemnity are helping employers address financial wellness by supplementing core medical coverage. Benefits such as student loan refinancing, loan assistance, and financial coaching are becoming more common in the workplace, as well, to help employees save for the future and remove the need to tap into their retirement accounts for emergency funds. Other emerging financial wellness benefits are also helping employees plan for the future with college savings funds for their children and long-term care insurance.
GOAL: Offer benefits that provide a better work-life balance to attract and retain top talent.
While employees spend most of their adulthood working, they still have personal lives. And when an employer acknowledges that, it can do wonders for their brand, as 94 percent of employees say they want their benefits to have a meaningful impact on their quality of life.
Imagine one of your top performers going into a chamber of commerce meeting and sharing that your company's new pet insurance offering saved them from huge vet bills? Or that they have peace of mind for their family knowing they're covered by your identity theft protection or legal insurance benefits? That employee has become an advocate for working at your company, helping you not only retain but attract top talent, as well.
Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just throwing a ton of new options out there for your employees to pick and choose from. You have to first understand who your employees are to deliver a benefits package that they'll truly find valuable.
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