What every employer should know about voluntary benefits

Some speak out about a simple decision that is often difficult to make

If he had provided voluntary benefit options to his employees, it would have built trust and loyalty, his employees would have felt safe knowing he was taking care of them. This safe culture would have led to stable, productive and secure teams, where everyone felt like they belonged.”

They left, some for lower-paying jobs that provided voluntary benefits.

The first notable dropout was a talented project manager who left to take up a maintenance supervisor position at a nearby property management company. He had to leave to find better ways to protect the financial well-being of his family. He continued to build his team by selectively recommending his new boss hire his former co-workers.

Of course, the company tried to adapt by switching to a Model 1099 from a W-2 model, hiring subcontractors but without a robust vetting process, the change was unsuccessful and the company closed in 2007. The management core that allowed it to grow to a revenue company of 11 million dollars in 3 years was gone. The brand perception of a company that didn’t care about its employees had taken hold.

I believe in the value of the voluntary benefits insurance business and look for every opportunity to get in there and relate this experience to business owners.”

Who benefits? Both employers and employees benefit. The employer benefits through increased employee satisfaction and retention through better benefit programs, at little or no financial cost to your company. Employees benefit through the ability to tailor an affordable benefits package to protect their income from unexpected costs associated with illness or injury.

What should employers do? Give employees the option to make informed decisions about protecting their income. Because employees are increasingly involved in their care. Indeed, when many employers are asked about employee benefits, their first reaction is often, “I’m ready,” but are they really? If your employees are not, as you think you are, it is because you have not given them a choice.

Why should employers do it? Your employees want it. A 2013 study noted that 64 percent of employees want their employer to provide them with a broader range of voluntary benefits that they can choose to purchase. Some really need it and will happily pay for it because of the peace of mind it brings. Again, this at no cost to the employer’s operating budget.

How should entrepreneurs do it? Create the environment in which employees feel free to exercise this choice. Also, provide a welcoming and private environment for this transfer of information between the employee and the benefits provider to take place.

Where should this happen? It is preferred that this be done through the company’s group option (payroll deduction) where employees are guaranteed cost savings of up to 35 percent, bringing the cost of most products is less than a dollar a day.

When must an employer do this? There is rarely a better time than now.

In short, the who, what, why, how, where and when of voluntary benefits. The ball is in the hands of the boss, play well and you will be the winner (in short).