Small businesses can help keep their employees happy and engaged by reducing distractions related to financial issues that may plague employees and preoccupy them in the workplace.

By Wendy Herndon

Nearly three-quarters of small-business employees say they are very satisfied working for a small employer, according to the 2017 Aflac Small Business Happiness Report.1 However, the report also found that 72 percent of small-business employees would be even happier if they had better health care benefits. As health care costs continue to rise, workers today want benefits that provide support for their overall wellness and financial stability, not just for a routine doctor’s visit.

According to PwC’s 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 48 percent of employees report that personal finance issues distract them at work and half of them spend three hours per week thinking about or dealing with their personal finance issues while on the job.2 Fortunately, small-business owners can take action by expanding their offerings to include more nontraditional services that provide assistance not typically covered under major medical insurance. These services allow employees to ease the stress of juggling multiple responsibilities both inside and outside the workplace. A few examples of value-added services made available by companies like Aflac include:

  1. Telemedicine: With employees becoming increasingly busy, telemedicine has become appealing to workers. Telemedicine allows patients to connect directly with a doctor online, allowing them to meet with physicians when and where it is most convenient for them. This flexibility allows employees to receive treatment faster than ever before, which can lessen the stress of taking time off to travel to an appointment and allow them to return to work quicker. It is also a low-cost alternative to a doctor’s visit.
  2. Fraud protection: Identity theft is a serious issue that is not only costly, but may also impact an employee for months or even years. In fact, the 2018 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy found that $16.8 billion was stolen from 16.7 million U.S. consumers in 2017.3 Putting a fraud protection system in place provides employees with professional services to monitor and protect personal information, which can help prevent fraud and its emotional consequences from ever taking place.
  3. Health advocacy and bill negotiation services: Navigating the confusing language and rules of health care and benefits can be difficult. This is where a health management support team can be incredibly beneficial. These advisors can help employees negotiate their unpaid medical bills, thus lessening their financial burdens.
  4. Financial and legal support: Financial and legal advisors can provide their expertise to help employees plan for the future by ensuring they are making sound financial and legal decisions. Advisors can assist with planning for college, retirement or even writing a will. Employees will be able to live their best lives by knowing they have a plan in place to financially support themselves and their loved ones.

Small businesses can help keep their employees happy and engaged by reducing distractions related to financial issues that may plague employees and preoccupy them in the workplace. Providing employees options with value-added services can help protect them from unexpected events and keep them productive and focused on the job.

Wendy Herndon is second vice president of Product Development and Implementation at Aflac. With more than 15 years of experience in this field, she is responsible for managing and guiding product portfolios through their entire life cycles including strategy, development and implementation.

1 The 2017 Aflac Small Business Happiness Survey, fielded by Lightspeed GMI on behalf of Aflac in the United States between March 2 and March 13, 2017.

2 PricewaterhouseCoopers. “2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey.” https://www.pwc.com/us/en/private-company-services/publications/assets/pwc-2017-employee-wellness-survey.pdf. Accessed March 20, 2018.

3 Javelin Strategy. “2018 Identity Fraud: Fraud Enters a New Era of Complexity.” https://www.javelinstrategy.com/coverage-area/2018-identity-fraud-fraud-enters-new-era-complexity. Accessed March 20, 2018.

Doctor online stock photo by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock