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Good Employee Benefits

The unemployment rate, currently at record lows, is hampering the efforts of small businesses to attract and retain employees. In many cases, workers have the upper hand in the workforce today; they have more choices of places to work and are less loyal to their employers as a result.

Competitive pay and good benefits have long been an influence on workers’ decision to join and stay at a company. But, it’s now increasingly important for businesses to deliver a more targeted, personalized approach that caters to an increasingly diverse workforce. The more customized the benefits, the better—70% of employees say they’re more likely to be loyal to a company that offers  “employee benefits that are personalized to their needs.”

What are voluntary benefits? In short, they are insurance products employees can elect to add to their plan to help fill the gaps in their medical insurance. Years ago, voluntary benefits were “nice to have,” but today they have entered into the “must have” area for employers looking to hire and retain quality employees.

The most common voluntary benefits, also known as supplemental health, include accident insurance, critical illness, hospital indemnity, and cancer insurance. With voluntary benefits, employees pay for most or all of the cost of the insurance product through payroll deferral, which keeps costs down for the employer.

The good news is that many small businesses have gotten the message and are addressing workforce health by offering wellness initiatives, such as biometric screening and health risk assessments, as well as flexible work schedules and telecommuting.

What, beyond the traditional health insurance and retirement benefits, do employees want? According to Guardian Life’s study:

  • 58% of employees want time off for parental bonding/caregiving
  • 55% want supplemental health insurance benefits, such as accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity
  • 25% of employees want student loan repayment benefit
  • 22% want access to counseling/substance abuse rehab

It’s not all about the benefits either. Employees want a better, less complex enrollment experience. Employees who have a “very positive” enrollment experience are more confident in the benefits decisions they make and place a higher value on their benefits package. That ultimately provides a more favorable view of their employer—increasing company loyalty.


Employees want an enrollment experience that is/offers:

  • Easier to understand: Clearer explanations; simpler language
  • More personalized: Information and advice tailored to their needs; one-on-one help
  • Expert guidance: A professional to answer questions/validate choices
  • Digital Support: Mobile apps, modeling tools and short videos

Part of the challenge is many Americans in the workforce do not fully understand the benefits offered to them. In fact, the average score on Guardian’s 2019 Employee Benefits I.Q. Quiz was a 68%.

To help ensure employee loyalty (lower turnover will save you a lot of money, too) offer your employees more of what they want—more personalized benefits, a clear explanation of what you’re offering them and an easy enrollment process. That will  “benefit” your business as well.

For additional information on employee benefits, please check out these studies:

This post is sponsored by Guardian Life Insurance


Brian Moran

Brian Moran

Prior to rejoining the world of entrepreneurship, Brian was the Executive Director of Sales Development at the Wall Street Journal where he oversaw the sales development and marketing programs for the financial and small business categories among the many Journal brands. From 2002-2010, Brian was President of Veracle Media and Moran Media Group.

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