07/31/2017 3 Retention-Boosting Employee Benefit Best Practices

Barbara Halverson, SVP Human Resources

3 Retention-Boosting Employee Benefit Best Practices

Employers today are competing to attract—and retain—top talent. Job candidates and employees alike have high demands for the companies they work for, and they’ve often got the leverage to leave one job for a better opportunity. What can an employer do to help build workforce loyalty and keep their MVEs (most valuable employees!) around? 

This is a question on the minds of HR professionals across industries. Eighty seven percent (87%) of employers in fact, say that improving retention is a critical priority for their organization.1 Here, we’ll take a look at 3 ways forward-thinking companies are strengthening their retention efforts by providing their employees access to voluntary benefit programs.

1. Supporting the employee experience

According to a Forbes article, the #1 HR trend for 2017 is “Focus On Creating A Compelling Employee Experience.” The “Employee Experience” is an HR buzzword for a great reason: employees want to have excellent experiences with their employers and benefits! In the context of a competitive employment marketplace, though, employers are going to greater lengths to understand what their employees need to stay happy, productive, and motivated—and they are delivering support in the following areas:

  • Career development
  • Workforce culture
  • Workplace technology
  • Work/life balance
  • Compensation & benefits

Taken together, these components can make up a compelling Employer Value Proposition (EVP). The more an employer can offer their workforce in terms of value-added benefits, while stacking up against other employers’ EVPs, the better chance they’ll have of keeping their employees satisfied.

2. Offering competitive benefits and access to voluntary benefit programs

When it comes to employer-sponsored benefits, healthcare benefits are tops. Society for Human Resource Management’s 2016 Strategic Benefits (SHRM) survey reveals that healthcare benefits (95%) are the most important benefits to employees ahead of retirement savings and planning benefits (71%) and leave benefits (50%).2 What’s more, 89% of employees surveyed In the most recent Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans say their health benefits are as important to them as their salary.3 

One of the trends in employee benefits is offering higher-deductible health plans, often coupled with health savings accounts, to help offset the rising costs of providing health care benefits. A popular way for employers to help their employees is to provide access to voluntary benefits/supplemental accident and health insurance policies. A Mercer survey found that 59% of respondents offer an accident plan, 45% offer critical illness plans, and 21% offer hospital indemnity insurance.4

Combined Insurance offers a range of supplemental insurance products, including:

  • Accident and Sickness
  • Critical Illness and Cancer
  • Income Replacement
  • Life

Benefits under these types of policies are paid directly to the employee and can be used to help offset out-of-pocket medical expenses, pay for groceries, child care, or other daily living expenses – to help ensure nothing falls through the cracks.  And since these policies are paid for directly by employees, employers don’t have additional benefit costs as a result of offering them as part of a comprehensive benefits package. 

3. Communicating benefits effectively

One of the employee benefit challenges companies face is also an opportunity: ensuring employees understand the value of their benefits package. The SHRM study found that this was the second main strategic priority for employee benefits (cited by 27% of respondents), just behind controlling healthcare costs (30%).

But it seems awareness among employees is not where it could be. Just 14% of HR professionals in the SHRM study said their organizations' employees are "very knowledgeable" about the employer-sponsored benefits available to them, while 69% indicated employees are "somewhat knowledgeable." And only about one-fifth indicated their employee benefits communications were "very effective" at informing workers about their benefits.

Employers are eager to get the word out about their great benefits packages and boost their EVP in the process. It’s critical that they find ways to connect with employees and deliver benefit education that resonates and has an impact on benefits selection and usage—because those benefits are an important part of the employee experience and help boost their company loyalty. 

Products underwritten by Combined Insurance Company of America (CICA) (Chicago, IL) in all states except New York. CICA is not licensed and does not solicit business in New York. In New York, products are underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY).

These policies contain exclusions and limitation. See the policies or contact Combined Insurance for costs and complete details of coverage.



1 https://www.kronos.com/about-us/newsroom/employee-burnout-crisis-study-reveals-big-workplace-challenge-2017.
2 https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/alter-benefits-attract-retain.aspx.
3 https://www.mercer.us/our-thinking/health/mercer-national-survey-2017.html.
4 http://www.workforce.com/2017/01/05/supplemental-health-coverage-employees-responsible/.

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