Employers don’t offer voluntary benefits like they used to. According to a recent survey, the number of companies likely to increase their employee benefit services has decreased from 47% to 35%. This makes employers who do offer these benefits look better in the public eye. But there are also more tangible advantages to offering voluntary benefits, for both employees and employers.
They Make Employees Feel Valued
It’s important for companies to make their employees feel like they matter to the organization. Voluntary benefits are a great way to give your employees greater choice in what they get out of work, and companies can’t underestimate how important choice is; 65% of employees said in a recent survey it’s important for their employer to offer them voluntary employee benefit services. Since a lack of individual valuation can create less inclusive cultures (which then leads to less creativity and innovation), companies have a big incentive to provide these voluntary benefits.
They Can Get You Candidates
Great voluntary benefit options can make your current employees feel valued, but they can also help you attract new ones. According to a 2014 report by insurance company, Aflac, 57% of workers in small business say they would likely accept a job with less direct compensation but better employee benefits. And what’s a better benefit than letting employees pick which benefits they want? A great voluntary benefits package can make a great point to advertise on your job ad.
They’re Easier to Navigate
Being your own boss may have its benefits, but having to pick your own health insurance isn’t one of them. The market for insurance can get complicated quickly, and most people would prefer a simpler way to choose their health options. This is why almost 60% of employees prefer to buy health insurance benefits at work, and almost half prefer to do the same with their life insurance. When you allow your employees to choose from a more simplified list of insurance options, it makes the process much easier of them, and they’ll thank you.
They Can Act as Motivators
Not all voluntary benefits are the kind employees get when they sign up — not immediately, anyway. According to a recent survey by the SHRM foundation, 40% of companies offer incentive bonuses to non-executive employees after they’ve met certain criteria or have accomplished certain tasks, and 41% offer employee referral bonuses. These kinds of bonuses can act as a way to encourage employee productivity and can turn employees into brand ambassadors and recruiters.
They Can Help Employees Stay Longer
A comfortable suite of benefits can also help employees stay longer at your company. The SHRM survey also notes that 49% of employees receive anniversary bonuses after they’ve been with the company for a long enough time. But that’s not the only way to encourage employee loyalty; 64% of employers offer 401(k) plans to their employees, with 40% of them using an automatic enrollment feature and 70% choosing to match the employee’s contribution to the plan. Putting these longevity bonuses in place can give employees the motivation to stay at your company where they might otherwise consider offers from other companies with higher “direct” compensation.
Every company will offer their own unique set of voluntary benefits — they can define a company’s culture to a large degree. But no matter which benefits you decide to offer your employees, the important thing is to have some in place so your employees know they’re valued, are motivated to do well and will spend more time working and less time worrying about the little things.
Get started with The Olson Group today to see how we can improve new hire engagement and new employee retention.
Bio: Tim Olson
Tim Olson, CEBS, CMFC and Managing Partner of the Olson Group, has been working with Nebraska employers for over 33 years and has been in the employee benefits industry since 1980. Presently, Tim works with employers assisting them with self-funded and fully insured medical and dental programs, consumer-driven health strategies, term life, long term disability insurance, section 125 flexible benefit programs, voluntary benefits, retirement programs, and executive compensation plans. Tim currently works with more than 200 employers participating in 500 employee benefit plans, and covering more than 30,000 employees throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. You can read more about Tim and his insight on employee benefits needs on The Olson Group Blog.