Voluntary Benefits: How to Stay Competitive in Today’s Job Market

In today’s evolving job market, employees are demanding more from their employers than ever before. During the COVID-19 pandemic, employees caught a glimpse of how important they are to a company’s success and began leveraging their power to negotiate richer benefits and flexible work arrangements. Many businesses that had not previously worried about employee retention were now dedicating time, money and effort to enhancing the employee experience.

Flexible scheduling, remote working arrangements and “unlimited” PTO are employment trends that seem to be staples of the post-covid job market. However, they have come to be expected by job seekers and are not the differentiators they once were.

How do You set Yourself Apart in such a Competitive Job Market?

One solution many employers are exploring is enhancing their voluntary & non-traditional benefit offerings.

The concept of voluntary benefits is not a new one. Employers have been offering ‘work site’ benefits for years including critical illness, hospital indemnity and accident coverage that help supplement group health plans or pay for unreimbursed medical expenses. These benefits are ‘voluntary’ or employee-paid, making them attractive to employers as they enhance benefits offerings without adding to the bottom line.

As the demand for voluntary benefits has risen, more and more options are available in the marketplace. Benefits like ID Theft Protection, Legal Aid and Pet Insurance have become extremely popular with today’s workforce. They provide personalized solutions to enhance employee’s life outside of work while driving engagement with the employer-sponsored benefits program. With so many options available to employers, it’s important to focus your efforts on the benefits that would be most valuable to your unique workforce.

Examples of Non-Traditional Benefits

  • Pet Insurance
  • ID Theft Protection
  • Legal Aid
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Home Buying Support
  • Student Loan Support
  • Will Prep Services
  • Adoption & Fertility Benefits
  • Wellness Programs
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Travel Assistance
  • Tri-Care Supplement
  • Medicare Assistance
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Healthcare Concierge Services
  • Prescription Savings Card

Tailoring Your Voluntary Benefits to the Multi-Generational Workforce

Depending on the generational focus your employee base skews, you may find it more beneficial to select benefits that align with your employee demographic.

New benefits like Student Loan Repayment Programs, Home-Buying Support and Family-Forming are popular among the Millennial and Gen Z workforce. Due to a number of economic and financial challenges, these generations are struggling to repay student loan debt, purchase homes and start families so it only makes sense they begin looking to their employers to provide solutions. This is especially true in industries that skew younger, like information technology, cybersecurity and digital marketing.

Baby Boomers and Gen X still make up a huge part of today’s workforce, and their needs can be quite different. As they age and approach retirement, their focus is on areas like estate planning, Medicare and maximizing healthcare benefits. A few emerging benefits to consider for this population would be:

  • Patient Advocacy
  • Prescription Savings Cards
  • Medicare Planning
  • Will Prep services

These benefits can answer questions that may be keeping your employees up at night and allow them to focus more easily on work.

Prioritize Employee Engagement When Selecting Voluntary Benefits

It is important to be aware of what is important to your unique workforce and what benefits they might want to have access to. One way to gather this  information is by conducting a survey.           5-10 questions, specifically tailored to your staff, can provide valuable feedback as you explore your options. This also helps engage your employees in the benefits program and makes them feel involved in the decision-making process.

In summary, there is no shortage of non-traditional & voluntary benefit options in today’s market. Not every benefit is going to be a fit for your organization but there is no excuse to not explore your options. Employees are a business’s greatest asset and if you aren’t bringing creative solutions to the table then someone else will. For more information on non-traditional & voluntary benefits please contact your friends at HWP Insurance.


About the Author

In his role at HWP, Marty acts as an employee benefits advisor focusing on helping employers of all sizes and industries implement and enhance their benefits programs. He also is well versed in Individual Life insurance and Disability products.

Marty holds a Business Marketing & Management Degree from Fairmont State University.  He is also a Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) and is currently working to attain his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from the American College of Financial Services.

Email: mbonifant@hwphillips.com

Phone: 202-351-0269

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