Pre-pandemic, organizations of various kinds thought office perks such as coffee bars, ping-pong tables, free snacks and nap rooms were good tools for attracting and retaining a talented workforce. And, to some extent, they may have been.
But in a world of remote and hybrid work arrangements, office perks don’t carry as much weight as they once did. Employee benefits, on the other hand, have taken on heightened importance, with voluntary benefits such as supplemental health insurance emerging as differentiators in a tremendously competitive, worker-friendly labor market.
According to Aflac’s 2020-2021 Workplace Benefits Trends report, 50% of employers surveyed in June of 2020 said supplemental health benefits help with recruitment, while 60% said the voluntary and worksite benefits they offer help retain employees. The ongoing effects of COVID-19, including its impact on healthcare and the labor market, make it likely those percentages have risen since the survey was conducted.
In fact, according to results of a Voya survey released on February 10, 2022, 70% of employed individuals who are benefits-eligible say they are more likely to work for an organization that offers employee-paid voluntary benefits.
Financial security continues to be a major concern for employees, particularly those who have been caught off guard by out-of-pocket healthcare costs. In the recent article “Beyond the Great Resignation: 7 trends that will shape work in 2022,” Human Resource Executive predicts that turnover among knowledge workers will only increase as continued remote work weakens social and emotional connections between co-workers and eliminates geographic barriers that previously might have prevented an employee from changing jobs.
Help Is on the Way
With employers looking to strengthen recruitment and provide robust enrollment tools that promote employee retention, Alera Group is offering a Thursday, March 17, webinar: Strengthening Your Benefits Package with Voluntary and Worksite Benefit Solutions.
Featuring specialists in worksite specialty solutions and services, benefits communication, and voluntary benefit administration, the webinar will cover not only what kinds of benefit products to consider in designing a total rewards program but also how to convey the value of your organization’s offerings and how to implement their use.
The one-hour program starts at noon EST, and is approved for one credit by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).
What Are Voluntary and Worksite Benefits?
Essentially, voluntary and worksite benefits are products offered through an employer but paid for partially or entirely by workers through payroll deferral, at group rates that would be unattainable as a sole purchaser.
While larger employers traditionally fund at least some portion of such employee benefits as health insurance, paid time off (PTO), a retirement savings plan, life insurance, and dental and vision insurance, benefits more likely to be funded entirely or at least primarily by the employee include:
- Accident and Critical Illness Insurance — supplemental health insurance that provides financial assistance related to specific, unexpected life events, helping to pay expenses primary health insurance typically does not cover, such as deductibles, copays and, in some cases, non-medical expenses incurred during recuperation;
- Hospital Indemnity Insurance — another form of supplemental health insurance, covering expenses for hospital stays and, in some cases, recovery;
- Employee assistance programs (EAPs) — counseling for personal or work-related problems that may interfere with an employee’s job performance;
- Identity theft protection — a type of insurance that reimburses victims for money spent on reclaiming their financial identities and repairing their credit reports;
- Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCi) — coverage for all or part of assisted-living facilities or in-home care for people with a chronic condition that requires constant care;
- Pet Insurance — health insurance for pets that covers certain medical expenses;
- Student loan assistance — refinancing arrangements and consolidation programs to help alleviate federal student loan debt, which is currently carried by 43.4 million borrowers, according to the Education Data Initiative;
- Wellness programs — organized activities designed to improve or support employees’ physical and/or mental health.
Among other voluntary benefits catching on with employers: reimbursement for work-from-home expenses and financial wellness programs.
Communicating Value, Facilitating Implementation
As Alera Group noted in the August 2021 article “Communicating the Value of Total Rewards”:
“Beyond salary, benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, financial support for training and education, paid time off and leaves, wellness programs and more can add 30% or more to the value of an employees’ compensation package. But a total rewards package is only truly valuable if a current or prospective employee:
- Has a clear understanding of the benefits and other rewards the employer offers;
- Recognizes the value — in both monetary and quality-of-life terms — of each benefit;
- Understands how to use their benefits included in their total rewards package.”
For new employees, how benefits enrollment and orientation are handled in the onboarding process is especially important. You only get one shot at making a first impression, and what better way to make that impression a positive and lasting one than by providing an education solution that demonstrates the benefits of being part of your organization?
Alera Group Employee Benefits clients have access to tools that help employees make the right decisions regarding plan options and can provide a concierge call center that enables plan members to speak confidentially with a benefits counselor and ask difficult questions. Employers who explain such resources and services to new hires on Day 1 are far more likely to have a workforce that understands, uses and values its total rewards.
To learn more about making your total rewards program a more dynamic feature of your recruiting and employee-retention efforts, join the Alera Group team for our March 17 webinar. To register, click on the link below.
About the Author
Tina Santelli, CBC, GBDS
Vice President of Worksite Specialty Solutions and Services
In her role as Vice President of Worksite Specialty Solutions and Services, Tina Santelli is responsible for enhancing offerings, education and services for Alera Group Employee Benefits clients of all sizes. A Certified Business Consultant (CBC) and Group Benefits Disability Specialist (GBDS), she also oversees all existing specialty benefits solutions, collaborating with key internal and external stakeholders to further drive engagement.