More than just ‘nice to have’, voluntary benefits are an important element in any well-rounded compensation package. Their flexibility, affordability and personalization make them attractive to employees, and voluntary benefits can also offer several perks for employers as well.
According to SHRM, almost 35% of organizations increased their benefit offerings in 2018.
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Contrary to popular belief, adding in voluntary benefits into your full benefits offering is not only affordable but can actually save companies money in some cases. For the most part, voluntary benefits are employee-driven, meaning that employees are fully responsible for the cost of the perk. Of course, your company might choose to cover some or all of the cost of some voluntary perks, but this is not typically standard across the board for organizations.
Some carriers and benefits tech companies have partnered on incentive programs to help drive down the cost of technology. For example, PlanSource strategically partners with notable insurance carriers in our PlanSource Advantage program to offer credits for specific insurance products. When a company enrolls in programs with a participating insurance carrier, they will receive credits that can be used to offset the cost of using our benefits platform, a win/win for employees and employers.
Voluntary benefits give employees peace of mind by filling in gaps not covered by core, traditional benefit services at little to no cost to your company.
Still not convinced? Consider this…According to a recent BenefitsPRO survey, 83% of employees with no voluntary benefits say they want voluntary products and they are willing to pay for them. Click To Tweet
Most Popular Voluntary Benefits
According to the National Association of Health Underwriters, the most popular ancillary offerings in 2017 were:
An insurance policy where an individual pays a monthly premium in exchange for a lump-sum payment, known as a death benefit, to a beneficiary in the event of the insured’s death.
Dental insurance covers the cost of dental procedures, including preventative care, like semi-annual cleanings, common dental procedures, like fillings, and major procedures, like extractions and root canals.
Cancer insurance is purchased to help manage the cost of cancer, which is often one of the most costly health issues to address. Some cancer policies pay out a lump sum upon diagnoses while other policies offer supplemental payments for ongoing health care costs.
Similar to cancer insurance, critical illness insurance pays a lump sums to an insured individual upon diagnoses of a critical illness. The three most common types of ‘critical illness’ conditions covered include cancer, heart attack and stroke. Other conditions, like a heart transplant, coronary bypass surgery, angioplasty, major organ failure, and more might also be covered.
Disability insurance will pay some or all of a worker’s salary if that person becomes disables or is no longer able to perform his or her job. This supplemental income is designed to ease the burden of being out of work for a specified amount of time.
Accident insurance is designed to help participants pay the out-of-pocket costs that arise after an accidental injury. Accident insurance covers costs related to hospital stays, emergency treatment, medical exams, and transportation and lodging during an unforeseen event.
Voluntary Benefits On The Rise
The most popular benefits only tell one side of the story. If you want to really impress recruits and stand out from the crowd, consider some of these popular ancillary products that are quickly gaining momentum.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance
A recent addition to the voluntary benefit lineup, student loan repayment assistance services are hot on the streets as employers look for innovative new ways to attract millennials. Companies like tuition.io offer easy to manage programs for helping your employees get back on track with their financial wellness.
Furry friends are part of the family too and many organizations are beginning to offer pet policies. These policies are typically fully paid for by the employee and offer help with pet-related expenses, like vet visits and medical procedures.
Identity Theft Protection
With an increase in cybersecurity breaches, it’s not hard to see why identity theft protection services are on the rise. This product is typically paid for by the employee.
Getting Started With Voluntary Perks
Are you ready to diversify your benefits portfolio? To get started, reach out to your insurance broker to start the conversation. Timing wise, if you want to roll out new programs and perks for open enrollment, reach out a few months in advance to discuss strategy, budget, partnership and integrations to ensure everything runs smoothly during OE.
You will also want to assess the needs of your organization and potential benefit gaps during an annual benefits review. This will help you identify key areas for improvement and help you hone in on perks that your workforce actually wants. This can easily be done via a quick HR survey or focus groups to gather both qualitative and quantitative data.
Promoting Your Voluntary Benefits
Offering a diverse portfolio of voluntary benefits is great! But, what happens when employees and recruits are unaware of their options? Having a strategic employee communications plan in place is the key to fostering engagement and participation in employee benefits.
Start by developing a year-round education strategy that incorporates multiple communication channels. This could include monthly lunch and learn events, emails or text message alerts from HR about important benefits events or changes, and even a private social media group for HR that can provide an open forum for communication.
Investing in decision support is also a great way to help your workforce better understand and utilize benefits they might be unfamiliar with or unaware of.
And finally, don’t forget to showcase the full value of your complete benefits offerings through total compensation statements.
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