There is no doubt that voluntary benefits have moved into the benefits mainstream. Today, voluntary benefits are rightly regarded as a high value benefit strategy by both employers and their employees. Voluntary benefits satisfy employee preference for more benefits choice without adding to a company’s benefits budget.
The biggest challenge with voluntary benefits is choosing the right products that will drive employee participation and satisfaction during this time of extreme workforce diversity – one that is multigenerational, at different life stages and experiencing different economic circumstances, and at a time of immense changes in benefits offerings. There are now four generations in the workforce with a variety of personal needs, as well as fundamental differences in attitudes and expectations that will shape the future of voluntary benefits.
How should voluntary benefits be mixed and matched to provide a flexible product suite with broad appeal? What features will drive positive participation? Psychological, emotional and economic issues come into play in any purchase decision and the decision to open one’s wallet to buy a voluntary benefit is no exception.
A voluntary benefit must offer a solution to a real-life problem that could be experienced by the employee. It is important to offer a broad and rich portfolio of voluntary benefit products to enable individuals to identify “benefits that work for me” in the available mix. Voluntary benefit options that seem more personally relevant can contribute to an employee feeling more valued by the employer and more loyal to the organization.
Insurance needs change with life transitions – a new baby, a teen driver, or divorce. Help employees navigate this by connecting their new needs with a suggested suite of relevant benefit solutions to consider as changes occur - a generational approach.
Examples of generationally appropriate features could include guaranteed issue with no eligibility restrictions for pre-existing conditions, which might be more important for an older workforce. Whereas portability of the benefits may appeal more to younger workers who expect to change jobs more often.
In the end, designing the optimal voluntary benefit strategy is not only good for your employees; it also has advantages for the business. It contributes to a robust and competitive benefits program to attract and retain talent without adding to benefit costs. And it generates goodwill towards the company which can translate into increased employee loyalty and productivity.
For more information about voluntary benefits and their increasing role within today's benefits landscape, contact knowledgebroker Stephanie Riesch-Knapp.