2020 is here and off to a roaring start – which means that many employers will soon be making decisions that will shape their benefits program in 2021 and beyond. With continued low unemployment, ongoing workforce generational shift and competition for top talent at an all-time high in many industries, employers are seeking new and innovative ways to ensure their benefits program delivers the enhanced value and choice their workforce requires to meet diverse and changing needs – in short, to ensure the company is viewed as a desirable, long-term employment destination. Voluntary benefits continue to be a valuable component of the talent attraction/retention equation. Employers have taken notice of the advantage of voluntary benefits, with more than 90% of employers now offering at least one in their benefits program, according to Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans.
However, just offering voluntary benefits isn’t always enough to achieve the desired results. To optimize the value of voluntary benefits within your overall benefits program in 2021, consider these three important strategies:
- Align solutions to workforce demographics
With today’s multi-generational workforce, one size definitely does not fit all. Fortunately, voluntary benefits can easily be customized to fit the unique fingerprint of the employee base. By considering demographic attributes such as age, income, gender and state of residence, an employer can deliver the needed choice and flexibility that meets employees where they are and supports them as they move through various phases in their life.
- Enhance benefit communication and decision Support
Employees have distinct preferences in terms of receiving education and support in making the right benefit choices. The challenge for employers is how to deliver the right message, to the right employee, at the right time. By focusing on nuanced differences across the multi-generational workforce, employers can deploy a much more effective blend of communications to reach all employees and help them become more aware of their available benefits.
- Simplify the employee experience
Employees typically only spend 14 minutes on average each year enrolling in benefits, so streamlining the benefits enrollment experience is critical to helping employees make solid benefit elections. One of the most popular ways to accomplish this is to integrate voluntary benefits on the same platform as core benefits. When this type of simplified enrollment experience is in place, we see a dramatic uptick in uptake, as employees can choose among a complete and robust set of solutions to meet their needs. And the simplified experience shouldn’t stop with enrollment, but continue on to encompass service support, billing, and even claims.
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