Does the world of voluntary benefits seem like a black hole of endless products? Does it leave you wondering which voluntary benefits are right for your employees?
While no single voluntary benefit is a solution for all employees, using micro-strategies and offering voluntary benefits that appeal to multiple, diverse employee groups will ensure you craft a package that meets all your staff members’ needs.
Why Offer Voluntary Benefits?
The short answer: high value and low cost. Many voluntary benefits cost about the same as a daily cup of coffee, but unlike the quick jolt of caffeine, they can give employees lasting peace of mind. Often, employers can secure better pricing, plan designs, and underwriting than an employee could get for the same services on the individual market. Participating in employer-sponsored programs gives employees ease of enrollment and support not offered anywhere else. In many cases, employees can even keep their coverage after they leave their employee, and contributions can be taken via payroll deduction.
What voluntary benefits should you consider for your employees? Here are a few that are likely to appeal to employees across demographic lines:
1. Education Loan Assistance
College graduates are carrying significant student loan burdens, with the average outstanding student loan debt sitting at $39,400. As a result, employers are looking for ways to help employees manage that debt. There are many programs available to this end, including financial counseling and debt refinancing and consolidation.
2. Worksite Programs
There are many voluntary benefits that can complement employees’ existing health care plans. Worksite programs — such as accident, critical illness, and hospitalization insurance — help employees cover out-of-pockets costs incurred from unexpected medical issues. Accident insurance may appeal to the younger, more active segment of your employees, while critical illness insurance may be more attractive to older employees.
3. Employee Purchase Programs
At YouDecide, we’re seeing an increasing number of employers offer employee purchase programs. These programs cover major expenses, such as a new computer for a child going to college or a new refrigerator. The advantage of employee purchase programs is they generally allow employees to spread out payments on purchased products over a period of time through payroll deduction. This could help employees avoid high-interest loans when they don’t have the credit to buy the products they need. Employee purchase programs provide an alternative to employees taking loans out from their 401(k) plans.
4. Auto and Homeowner’s Insurance, Identity Theft Protection, and Legal Insurance
Traditional voluntary benefits such as group auto and homeowner’s insurance can provide employees with certain discounts based on tenure and payroll deductions that are not available in the individual market.
Another voluntary benefit that is attractive to all employees is identity theft protection, which can safeguard your employees’ finances and digital reputation through monitoring and restoration in the event of a breach.
As for group legal insurance, this program practically allows your employees to have an attorney on retainer. Group legal insurance appeals to all employees who are interested in having support for document review, traffic tickets, will preparation, and more.
Most employers offer robust core benefits such as health, dental, life insurance, disability, and 401(k) plans, but voluntary benefits are what distinguish the best employers. Offering the right voluntary benefit programs in one integrated solution can help employees save time and money, which can help increase their productivity in the workplace — and improve your recruiting success.
Peter Marcia is CEO of YouDecide.