As you think about your company’s benefits options, keep in mind that it’s not simply a benefits package, but a lifeline for your employees’ physical and financial stability. To decide what benefits your company should provide, you need to first understand what your employees want and need.
Also, keep in mind that today’s workforce is diverse, not just in ethnicity or gender, but also in age, ranging from 18 to about 70. Just as gaps between generations are more apparent when it comes to embracing new technologies, work-life balance and social interaction, they also have different needs when it comes to insurance coverage and benefits packages. Yet, the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report found that almost half of small businesses (44 percent) say their benefits package is a one-size-fits-all approach.
Since employees — millennials, Generation X and baby boomers — have unique viewpoints and needs, small businesses should design benefits packages that provide targeted, cost-effective solutions to their respective employees.
Create Customizable Plan Options
Take into account the various life stages of your employees and ensure the benefits options you offer fit their individual needs. Employees that are right out of college will need different coverage than an employee who is married with two young kids. Consider addressing various life stages by offering family, individual and single-parent plans.
For example, at Aflac, we noticed a number of single parents paying for two adults as part of the family coverage plan we offered. This was an inefficient use of our investment and our employees’ investment in health insurance. As a solution, we modified our offering to include coverage for one adult and children.
Another way to provide employees with personalized benefits is by offering options outside of the usual medical, dental and life insurance. Wellness programs and voluntary insurance are two out-of-the-norm options for employees to tailor their benefits packages, and both have upsides for your company. Wellness programs will appeal to your youngest workers and help them become more engaged in their benefits choices. In fact, according to a study by Neilsen, millennials — those born after 1980 — are conscious of their health and interested in programs that help them manage their well-being and make healthier choices.
These programs can also be advantageous for your small business. The Aflac survey found that 57 percent of small businesses completely or strongly agree they have a healthier workforce because of their wellness program, and 4 in 10 (40 percent) strongly or somewhat agree that wellness can directly impact profitability.
For those small businesses that are wary of the costs associated with customizable benefits options or for those that have already had to cut benefits offerings to save money, think about adding voluntary insurance like accident, hospital indemnity and cancer policies. Most voluntary plans can be offered at no cost to you, the employer, and your employees want it. Sixty-three percent of employees say voluntary insurance benefits influence their job satisfaction and 54 percent of employees enrolled in voluntary insurance say adding these benefits are important because they offer more options for health care coverage.
Offering tailored employee benefits options gives workers the chance to decide the most suitable and economic choice for them and ensure your small business’ benefits program is used in the most effective way.
Don’t Forget About Enrollment
Offering a range of benefits options doesn’t just end with the benefits themselves. When choosing your enrollment platform, consider the best platform for employees, and don’t be afraid to consider new ideas. Currently, most employers utilize online, paper and face-to-face methods for benefits enrollment. However, smart small businesses will adapt their benefits enrollment platforms to the different preferences of their employees.
For instance, millennials are undeniably defined by their use and affiliation with technology. This means including new technology options for enrolling and keeping track of benefits could be valuable for your small business. Increased technology use is already taking the stage with 31 percent of employers planning to deploy digital technologies such as web tools and mobile apps for 2015 or 2016.
Onward and Upward
Remember to think outside the box when it comes to building your health care benefits program. Be innovative and consider incorporating new products and technologies that fit your company’s budget and help employees protect their wallets along with their health and well-being.
Employees Photo via Shutterstock