Voluntary benefits, those insurance products offered by an employer but paid for by the employee, are one of the hottest trends in employee benefits. Employers love them because they allow them to continue offering the benefits workers value most while also controlling costs; employees love them because they offer access to valuable products as a better price than they could get on their own.
But what if that hasn't been your experience in trying to implement voluntary benefits as part of your employee benefits strategy. Here are three ways you may be going wrong.
- You're not offering the right mix for their needs. Insurance is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Factors such as age, marital status, or family structure affect insurance needs, so offering a wide selection of options ensures there is a plan for everyone. If your employees aren't taking advantage of your program, it could be because you're not offering the right offerings.
- You're not offering good value. A major part of the appeal of voluntary benefits is that employees can get access to excellent insurance products at a far better rate than they could get on their own. As a bonus, payment typically comes in the form of a payroll deduction, some of which may be pre-tax. You want to make sure you're getting the best deal on these products for your employees. An experienced voluntary benefits consulting company can help you research and select appropriate benefits, as well as negotiate underwriting and pricing with carriers, without having a staff benefits professional devote hours contacting individual carriers. It’s important to give the same level of attention to your critical illness, disability, long-term care and legal insurance that you used to investigate your core health and welfare benefit products.
- You're not clearly communicating the value of your voluntary benefits. More commonly, the issue is that employers undervalue voluntary benefits compared with employees. (More than half of employees in a survey by MetLife found said non-medical benefits (dental, disability, vision, life) were very important for feelings of loyalty to the company, while only a third of employers recognized the same.) But if response to your voluntary program has been tepid at best, it may be because your workers don't understand the value you're providing. You want to create a comprehensive benefits communication strategy that makes the most of both technology and in-person channels.
Winston Benefits is an HR solutions company that helps businesses automate and streamline their employee benefit programs. They help employers enrich their total compensation and rewards programs while saving time and money on benefit communications, enrollment and administration. Contact us to learn more.