All over, choruses of “Auld Lang Syne” have rung out, holiday décor has come down and people are pronouncing New Year’s resolutions. 2020 is officially here and with it a renewed focus for businesses of all sizes.

For small-business owners in this new decade, it is important to set goals that are realistic as well as impactful. However, time is a precious commodity: You undoubtedly have a lot of responsibilities to balance and still meet your goals in this new decade. An area you should never skip? Employee benefits. So consider these three trends to help embrace competitive employee offerings without sacrificing time or quality.

Technology for enrollment solutions

It is no secret that the 2000s have been a time of rapid innovation. New technology pops up every day — and this is just as true in the world of benefits. According to the 2019 Aflac WorkForces Report, online enrollment has become increasingly popular, with 60% of employers saying they use self-service online enrollment—an increase from 51% in 2018.1 Technology-driven enrollment options can provide employees with around-the-clock benefits resources, side-by-side comparisons of workers’ options, and more during the benefits open enrollment season and year-round. Not only that, but technology enhancements can help free employers’ all-too-precious time, meaning more attention is available for other tasks.

Customizable options

When selecting which options to offer employees, remember that benefits are not one size fits all. No two employees have the same medical history or risk factor — nor is each person looking for the same support. This is true in the diversity of coverage types businesses make available to help with the expenses health insurance doesn’t cover — such as supplemental accident, cancer, critical illness, life and disability insurance policies. From a business owner’s standpoint, this is also true of benefits communication and marketing. Look for insurers like Aflac that offer customizable benefits solutions to appeal to a variety of employees’ needs and wants — with little to no work needed on the employer’s part, thanks to the help of certified benefits consultants.

Value-added services

One option to help save time — at little to no cost to employers — can be found by enhancing your benefits package with value-added services. When integrated into an overall benefits strategy, value-added services can help provide workers with additional coverage options and expanded care from day one, including:

  • Telemedicine is a quick, convenient service that brings the doctor’s office to you with an online consultation. It is worth considering because workers want it: 72% of consumers willing to use telemedicine want to use it for prescription renewals and 56% would use it for routine check-ins when managing a chronic disease.2 Not only that, but it helps reduce the time employees spend away from their jobs to visit a doctor.*
  • Health Advocacy helps with unnecessary stress employees may experience when they need help understanding an insurance claim or negotiating medical bills. The younger generation could use it: 66% of millennials and 63% of GenZers find negotiating medical billing stressful, compared to 59% for those 39 and older.1 With less time spent on worrying about finances, employees are free to set their minds back on their work.*

Start 2020 on the right foot

Time is a key commodity for us all, and while the clock may seem to move fast, we all get the same amount of it. Make the most of every second in 2020 with these benefits trends to consider for small businesses.

Andy Glaub is senior vice president, director of Sales at Aflac.


1  The 2019 Aflac WorkForces Report is the ninth annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes. The surveys, conducted by Kantar, captured responses from 1,200 employers and 2,000 employees across the United States in various industries.

2 “Telehealth Index: 2019 Consumer Survey.” Telehealth Index. Accessed Jan. 2, 2020.

* Where available.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.

Benefits for businesses stock photo by Natali_ Mis/Shutterstock