With a workforce that spans three generations from Millennials to Baby Boomers, employers today are faced with a daunting challenge – how to offer benefits packages that appeal to everyone. After all, every generation looks at life, money, and finances differently, and each has their unique needs and priorities.
But one characteristic that crosses generational bounds is financial stress. The stock market and the economy may have seen gains in recent years, but according to a July 2014 Harris Poll on behalf of Purchasing Power, 80 percent of full-time employees are concerned about financial matters – and that stress is affecting them at work, which can lead to increased healthcare costs, lost productivity, and other costly consequences.
Bottom line: today’s employees want benefits that address their physical and financial health.
Voluntary benefits offer the perfect solution by giving employees the flexibility to choose the benefits that fit their needs and lifestyle – benefits that can help them soften the blow of skyrocketing healthcare costs, insurance premiums, and deductibles, as well as build financial wellness for the future. That’s probably why these products are quickly gaining momentum. In fact, a Transamerica Employee Benefits study reported that 65 percent of employees say it’s important that their employer offer voluntary products.
That includes financial planning. According to Workforce.com, most employees want their employer’s advice and help with their financial goals, and more and more, they’re expecting employers to help them build a financial safety net through their benefits package.
That means traditional benefits aren’t enough. The Transamerica study showed that 47 percent of employees haven’t been offered a new voluntary product since the Affordable Care Act health was implemented in 2010, so many employers aren’t keeping up with the times.
Step outside the traditional
Benefits such as life, disability, dental, vision, and retirement coverage have been available for decades, but with the changing economy and workforce, today’s employees want more. With a wide array of non-traditional voluntary products to choose from, there’s something for everyone, including:
- Financial Counseling Services provide one-on-one counseling by a certified financial professional or group learning through seminars.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are plans that help identify and resolve issues facing troubled employees and their families through short-term counseling, referrals to specialized professionals or organizations, and follow-up services.
- Buying and Banking give employees alternative ways to save, spend, or borrow
- Employee Purchase Programs provide a way to buy products and services and pay for them over time through payroll deduction instead of traditional financing options
- Tuition Assistance Programs are a type of employee benefit in which an employer reimburses employees for the costs associated with continuing education.
Consider this hypothetical scenario…
A Millennial is working in the food service industry and has an associate’s degree, and she’s covered by her parents’ medical plan and unaware of the benefits her employer offers. She’s stressed about money and bills, and her goals are to pay off her student loans so she can finish her bachelor’s degree, get a better job, get married, and start a family. What benefits would be best for her? She could benefit from Buying and Banking options, an EAP, employee discount and purchase programs, tuition assistance, and financial counseling, for starters.
Just imagine what a customized benefits package would do for your current employees’ morale and job loyalty, and what it can do for your recruiting and retention efforts.
The best part? Since voluntary benefits are paid by the employee, you can add them to your lineup at no cost.
Financially fit employees are a healthier fit for your business, so adding financial planning benefits to your offering is a win-win. To learn more, contact the experts at Heffernan Insurance Brokers.