By Andy Glaub
Everyone recognizes the dog days of summer and the long nights of winter. But during the fall, with kids heading back to school, the peak sports season underway and the holidays fast approaching, the whirlwind of activity can get overwhelming.
This is especially relevant for busy employees, who could be forgiven for feeling a particularly strong pull to their personal lives in these coming months. However, one major responsibility also coming up this time of year is benefits enrollment – and this is one responsibility where employees are especially prone to distracted decision-making. In fact, 56 percent of employees spent less than thirty minutes researching their benefits options during the last benefits enrollment, including 19 percent who did no research at all.1
And it is not just employees who could use more focus during this time of year. Employers and small-business leaders have an opportunity to make changes to benefits plans that can directly affect the financial well-being and overall workplace satisfaction of their employees, as well as help give employees the best possible enrollment conditions.
No matter which stage of life they are in, employees have benefits on their minds: SHRM’s 2018 Employee Benefits Report revealed that 92 percent of employees indicated that benefits are important to their overall job satisfaction.2 Those findings are consistent with those from the 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report, which found that 26 percent of employees reported having left a job or rejected a job offer due to the benefits offered, up from 21 percent in 2017.1
Employees say voluntary insurance matters
People-centered cultures within organizations operate on the principle that health care choices matter to employees – and not just major medical care. Businesses are taking a close look at voluntary options, as well, which is not far-fetched given that 85 percent of employees see a growing need for voluntary insurance.1 The good news for employers is that voluntary insurance policies can be a win-win for employees and companies alike for two main reasons:
- Premiums are often paid primarily by employees who opt in for coverage, allowing companies to offer voluntary insurance with little to no direct effect on their bottom lines.
- With voluntary insurance, cash is often paid directly to employees on eligible claims. Employees can use the cash benefits to help cover expenses such as copayments and deductibles, utility bills, travel and lodging costs, or any other needs in their lives when a serious illness or injury occurs. Financially secure employees may be less likely to be negatively distracted at work and happier on the job.
Make decisions today that will affect your company tomorrow
Action-oriented employers can take key steps to help ensure successful benefits enrollments by:
- Partnering with benefits advisors to explore more robust insurance options to best meet the needs of employees and create concise, readable and easy-to-understand materials for employees.
- Conducting formal and informal employee polls to gain insight on which types of voluntary insurance are on employees’ minds.
- Developing communications plans that ensure employees receive a steady cadence of benefits information that continues beyond open enrollment to throughout the year.
- Offering the latest technology solutions to help educate employees around the clock. With online and social media resources provided by companies like Aflac, employees can receive enrollment deadline reminders and see an easy, one-page view of all the benefits options available.
Though benefits enrollment season comes in the midst of a host of other responsibilities for employees and employers alike, it is no time to be distracted. Employers can take the time to evaluate their benefits offerings and lend an ear to their employees’ needs, prompting employees to take a closer look at their options and encouraging them to select what is truly best for them.
Andy Glaub, a 33-year veteran of Aflac, is the senior vice president, director of sales. He oversees the U.S. Sales team and is responsible for sales strategy, innovation and development in the worksite benefits market.
This article is for informational purposes and is not intended as a solicitation.
1 The 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report is the eighth annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes. The surveys, conducted by Lightspeed, captured responses from 1,700 benefits decision-makers and 2,000 employees across the United States in various industries. For more information, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com
2 2018 SHRM Employee Benefits Report. Accessed Sept. 4, 2018. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/2018%20Employee%20Benefits%20Report.pdf