Despite shifts in the economy and the mindset of multi-generational workforces, the basic needs of employees remain the same. Today’s workforce wants benefits that address their immediate concerns. When these benefits are also personal, understandable, and attainable, they become extremely valuable to employees.
Offering voluntary benefits is a cost-effective way for employers to stay competitive and provide value to their employees. When you put together a flexible, affordable plan that addresses the real needs of your employees, they will feel confident in their decision to enroll in these benefits.
Attractive benefits make the difference.
In 2019, employees will expect more from their benefits packages, and the variety of voluntary benefits will be a critical factor in recruitment and retention. As the needs of employees change, in addition to the traditional offerings, employers should focus on non-traditional offerings that address:
Student loan repayment. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, student loans have now exceeded $1.3 trillion, with the average borrower owing about $35,000. Student loan assistance programs, such as counseling, loan consolidation, repayment matching, and repayment assistance are a high-value benefit targeting millennials, who are now the largest generation in the workforce—and also carry the most student loan debt. Paying off their debt quickly is a priority, since it allows them to then focus on other financial goals like purchasing a home or saving for retirement.
Support for caregivers. As life expectancy rises, more adults than ever have taken on caregiver roles. The Washington Post recently reported the startling statistic that the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to nearly triple by 2050, also adding to the number of caregivers need. These caregivers are often providing financial support out of their own pockets, so providing assistance to those who assist others can be very valuable.
Financial planning. Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers are still living paycheck to paycheck. Making ends meet is a struggle enough, so many workers have not even considered saving for their future. Helping employees control their financial future is an investment that benefits everyone. Employers can offer programs like financial counseling, investment options, tax savings strategies, debt-lowering options, and budgeting advice.
Legal support services. Legal advice is expensive. More often than not, employees with legal problems hesitate to consult an attorney because they fear they can't afford legal representation. When this happens, productivity suffers. Having access to affordable legal services benefits both employees and organizations. Group legal plans are relatively inexpensive and provide employees with access to attorneys for assistance with:
- Will preparation
- Estate planning
- Traffic violations
- Real estate purchases
- Contract reviews
- Health care power of attorney documents
- Civil lawsuits
Identity theft protection. Data breaches and identity fraud are unfortunately becoming a part of today’s digital world. Although identity theft protection does not cover financial loss, it provides employees with peace of mind and expert assistance in the event of data or identity breaches. Coverage may include monitoring public records and alerting the employee to any fraudulent use of their personal data, as well as helping restore and repair credit history.
Understanding voluntary benefits does not have to be complicated and confusing for employees, nor does the administration of these benefits have to be time-consuming for employers. They are, however, extremely valuable for attracting top talent and keeping employees satisfied.