Voluntary benefits, also known as supplemental insurance, are becoming increasingly common among employers as a tactic to attract and retain top-performing employees. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that for every one unemployed person there are two open jobs available. That means that candidates have options to consider when joining a team, and businesses are competing with each other to hire the ideal worker to fill vacant roles.
Employee benefits are no longer a perk, but rather an expectation among job seekers. As workforces become more diversified, so are employees’ situations and needs. Voluntary benefits provide the ability for employees to customize their benefits based on personal needs.
What are Voluntary Benefits?
Voluntary benefits are products sold to employees at work through payroll deductions. Participation is optional and participants typically share in the cost with their employer through payroll deductions.
Voluntary benefits allow flexibility for employees to decide how to spend their discretionary income on additional products and services that fit their specific situations. Common products offered through voluntary benefits offerings include insurance coverage for life, accident, cancer, disability, dental and critical illness. Student loan repayment programs, homeowners’ insurance and gym memberships could also be offered through a voluntary benefits program.
Voluntary benefits are mutually beneficial because employees have access to an attractive range of products and employers can shift the cost of coverage since premiums are deducted from the participant’s paycheck
Why Should an Employer Consider Voluntary Benefits?
Employers are increasingly utilizing the strategy of offering a menu of choices in voluntary benefits for employees to achieve lifestyle protection. Employees can select a wide array of benefits at their fingertips instead of researching and seeking out special coverage on their own. The accessibility, control and convenience can be seen as selling points to join (or stay at) a company.
Additionally, competitive benefits packages can improve employee morale, and employees can even receive tax benefits through some options since deductions are taken from payroll. Some available plans are also offered with no additional costs for the employer, making it a win-win for them to provide such benefits to their employees.
The Importance of Communication
With open enrollment fast approaching, now is the time for employers to consider offering voluntary benefits, and educate employees on their options. Clearly communicating benefit options with employees is essential. Employers should consider communication methods, such as employee meetings, group meetings and one-on-one meetings, to discuss their options and provide them with instructions on how and when to enroll. Many employees like having a face-to-face opportunity to have their questions answered immediately. Use a consultative approach to educate employees on their benefits and supplemental insurance options.
If you need extra guidance, CanopyNation has specialists on staff who can come to your worksite to provide education on the range of benefits and supplemental insurance options to human resources teams, team leaders and even the employees directly. To schedule a consultation or to learn more about how we can set your team up with a diverse offering of voluntary benefits, please call us at 901-805-2860.