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PROSERVICE BLOG

Voluntary Benefits: A Winning Strategy for Employee Retention

by Shawn Ibara | August 8, 2019

In today’s competitive workplace, employee benefits have never played a more important role than they do now.

Why? Because the workplace is changing.

  • Low unemployment in Hawaii makes it hard to attract and retain workers, especially when employers can't afford to increase wages.
  • With wages relatively flat, and costs of living continuing to rise, two-thirds of Americans would struggle to cover a $1,000 crisis, according to one study.
  • And with Generation Z entering the workforce in a big way, today's teams are becoming more multi-generational than ever before—all with unique needs and preferences.

So what are local employers (and their employees) to do? Enter voluntary benefits.

With voluntary benefits, you can offer your teams real value and meet real needs—all at little to no cost. By beefing up your voluntary benefits you can also differentiate yourself from other employers. So how do voluntary benefits work? Let's dig in.

What are voluntary benefits?

Think of voluntary benefits as complementary to traditional health insurance. Many employers have been offering voluntary benefits for years, traditionally in the form of supplemental medical insurance e.g. critical illness, cancer care, accidental injury etc. Other benefits protect employees’ financial well-being, like 401(k) retirement plans, flexible spending accounts, and life insurance. 

As these plans have grown in popularity, the number and variety of voluntary benefits available has expanded. Today, employers are offering a wide range of modern products, including financial counseling, concierge medicine, student loan repayment programs, elder care, and even pet insurance. 

How does it work? Typically voluntary benefits are offered through employers to their employees at group rates. Employees select benefits that best meet their needs and budget, and pay for these benefits partially or in full through payroll deferrals.


Employees have spoken: Voluntary benefits matter. 

Employees have spoken loud and clear that these benefits matter to them, 

  • 85% of employees surveyed saw a growing need for voluntary benefits, according to a recent Aflac's WorkForces Report.
  • 6 out of 10 employees said they would take a job with lower pay if it offered better benefits, according to the same study.

Employers also agree: Five years ago 41% would have said that voluntary benefits have little importance to their employee value proposition and benefits strategy. That percentage has shrunk to only 5% in 2018, according to one survey.  So while these opt-in benefits may be voluntary for employees, they’re becoming less and less so for employers.


A win-win for employers and employees

With voluntary benefits, you can protect your employees health & wellness and financial health from the unexpected things that life brings along—all while earning loyalty and trust along the way, at relatively low costs. 

    • Health & wellness. Rising health care costs and high-deductible plans are leaving more people underinsured. Voluntary benefits can close that gap and help employees make sure they have the coverage they need, so they aren’t stuck with medical bills they can’t afford. Look at supplemental health and wellness plans, such cancer care, hospitalization, and critical illness insurance, as well as Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs) to meet employees’ top concerns.
    • Financial health. Today financial wellness products are one of the hottest trends in voluntary benefits, with 60% of employees using financial wellness benefits when they’re offered. Programs like Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), commuter benefits, and student loan repayment can make an immediate difference to your employees’ bottom line, while long-term care insurance, 401(k), life, accident, and cancer insurance protects their savings from a catastrophic loss. 
    • Quality of life. In addition to the big categories, other voluntary benefits can improve employees’ quality of life. Pet insurance, identity theft protection, and even divorce insurance are some of the products employers are offering to address their employees’ concerns.

The power of a benefits partner

When you work with an HR partner like ProService Hawaii, not only do you get access to quality health plans at competitive rates, you also get connected to voluntary benefits that help you retain talent, and attract new ones.

At ProService Hawaii, we provide a wide variety of voluntary benefits from retirement plans and student loan repayment programs, to voluntary benefits that support your team’s health, wealth, and lifestyle too.

Not only do you get powerful benefits—you'll also get expert support from real local people who're passionate about helping employers and their teams succeed in Hawaii. Tell us what you need—we'll show you how we can help.

Want to learn more? Download our free ebook: The Benefits of HR Partnerships in Hawaii

 

Shawn Ibara

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn currently serves as the Benefits Analyst Manager at ProService Hawaii. For the last fifteen years, he has worked collaboratively across the organization to connect employers with quality benefits that add value to their business and teams. Prior to joining ProService Hawaii, Shawn worked for top Hawaii companies such as Kuakini Medical Center, Kapiolani Health Care Systems, AIG Hawaii Insurance, and The Nature Conservancy.