Voluntary Benefit Offerings on the Rise in 2017

The Increasing Use of Voluntary Benefits

Pet insurance? Help paying student loans? Identity theft protection? Yes, some companies are offering up these coverage options as a way to add value to their organizations’ benefit packages. Voluntary benefits have often been used by companies as a way to fill gaps and provide popular extras that employees traditionally pay for.

How Voluntary Benefits Have Evolved

But companies have been broadening their selection of benefits and even paying for some of the offerings to meet the changing needs of their dynamic workforces. Most notably, to meet the demands of younger employees, especially millennials, who have different views about benefits than older generations. While baby boomers customarily focus on comprehensive health, dental and vision insurance, millennials want choice and customization. Voluntary benefits have become a tool for recruitment and retention for workers of all generations.

Important Extras for Employees and Employers

This is why it’s a growing area of the benefits sector. Organizations understand they need to move beyond salary and traditional benefits. According to recent LIMRA study statistics, 71% of employers believe voluntary benefits improve worker satisfaction and morale and over 80% of large employers offer at least one voluntary product.

The same study indicates that employees are looking to their employer for this kind of help too as nearly 60% of respondents indicate that they prefer to buy their health benefits at work. Voluntary benefits provide workers with a safety net to cover additional costs in their lives that can cause stress and anxiety.

Expanded Offerings

Voluntary benefit options have expanded for these reasons to include identity theft protection, pet insurance, health club memberships and student loan repayment programs, along with dental, vision, accident coverage, critical illness and mortgage payment protection. The recent HTI benefits study also found many organizations offering additional benefits like these to help foster a culture of wellbeing and productivity.

Employers need to pay attention to their benefit offerings as they can make an impact of achieving organizational goals, especially as one particular generation becomes the largest share of the American workforce. And according to PwC’s US’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness survey, 54% of millennials say their loyalty to employers is influenced by how much their employer cares about their well-being. So it’s time organizations of all sizes consider expanding their voluntary benefit offerings and actively promoting their support programs to clearly benefit their employees.

Source:  Workforce. We’ve Got You Covered. May/June 2017. PP54-55.


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