Want to Improve Your Company’s Image with Employees and Prospects?

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Broker Development, Employee Benefit Program | 0 comments

Want to Improve Your Company’s Image with Employees and Prospects?

Offer Voluntary Benefits…

Voluntary benefits are playing an increasingly important role in employers’ benefits strategy, expanding the reach of a company’s benefits budget and helping employees to affordably fill gaps in their insurance coverage. Survey data shows another reason to offer an attractive voluntary benefits roster: Your employees-and prospective employees-will think better of your company if you do.

According to a survey from WellPoint Inc., a health benefits company that is an independent licensee in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, 83% of U.S. employees think more highly of employers that offer voluntary benefits than of those that don’t. Among surveyed employees whose employers offer voluntary benefits, 82% say they are content with their overall employee benefits package, a satisfaction percentage that drops by 30% for employees in companies without a voluntary benefits program. And, when considering taking a new job, 90% of surveyed employees said it would be very important that the prospective employer offered voluntary benefits.

Voluntary benefits encompass an array of insurance offerings, from more traditionally offered supplemental life, supplemental medical, and disability insurance, to more recent entrants in companies’ voluntary benefits packages, such as pet insurance, financial planning, long-term care insurance, and group auto and home. A survey of employers from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and trade publication Employee Benefit News, in which 84% offered voluntary benefits, found that the most common voluntary benefits were life insurance (73%), vision insurance (53%), long-term care insurance (51%), long-term disability insurance (50%), accident insurance (49%), and dental insurance (48%).

Today’s uncertain economy places increased importance on voluntary benefits even though, on first thought, it might seem that employees would be less likely to enroll at such at time. That’s because employees, especially low-income employees, see voluntary benefits as a means of providing affordable financial protection. A survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute asked employees to rate different insurance benefits on a scale of one to five, based on the importance of these benefits in providing financial protection. Disability insurance, for example, was rated a five by 39%, but by 52% among workers making less than $35,000 a year. A similar result occurred with life insurance, with 48% of employees rating it a five, a figure that increased to 67% among workers in the lower-income category.

To keep employee interest in and appreciation of voluntary benefits high, use ongoing communications to emphasize the value these benefits provide. For example, illustrate what an employee might expect to pay for a particular type of insurance coverage on the open market, and compare that to the cost of such coverage enrolled for through the voluntary benefits program. For insurance that employees can pay for on a pre-tax basis through the group plan, emphasize these additional cost savings. Of course, the convenience of payroll deduction-and of having the product selection brought to you, rather than having to seek it out on your own-add to the value of voluntary benefits.

If your company offers voluntary benefits, congratulate yourself on this strategic decision, but don’t sit pat-periodically examine whether your current offerings serve employee needs, along with checking out what new products in the ever-increasing voluntary benefits roster you might add. And if your company doesn’t currently offer voluntary benefits, get smart-and take advantage of the opportunity to expand your employee benefits menu, as well as improve your standing in the eyes of both current and prospective employees.