Employer’s Blog

Six Rising Trends in Voluntary Benefits for 2019

Voluntary benefits have shown great promise in supplementing traditional benefits packages that include health insurance and retirement savings plans. However, attracting top talent means that companies must continuously refine which benefits they offer employees and how they roll out these benefits. For this reason, employers must keep up to date with the latest trends in voluntary benefits – trends that have a significant impact on employee retention.

That said, let’s look at six rising trends that employers should pay close attention to for the remainder of 2019.

Voluntary Benefits Are Expected Benefits

The first trend is not so much a type of voluntary benefit but an essential fact that all employers should know. By the end of 2019, most employees will want to work for companies that offer flexible benefits packages that provide some choice. Voluntary benefits provide employees agency, and even the smallest amount of agency can forge a bond between employees and their employers. 

Student Loan Relief

Students loans take years if not decades to pay back, and the stress of paying off loans can have a detrimental impact on your employees’ work performance. Also, consider retention. Employees burdened with loans are more likely to leave for another company that pays them a higher salary.

To offer student loan relief, your company matches student loan repayments up to a set dollar amount. The system works in much the same way as retirement matching. A student loan relief program can instill employee loyalty, as employees can pay off their loans faster than they would have been able to otherwise. Your company can also supplement this benefit by holding seminars on student debt – educating employees on other strategies they can use to pay off their loans and build excellent credit.

 Financial Guidance

Young employees have more financial difficulties than student loans. Many employees struggle with saving, budgeting, and other skills. An automated savings plan costs your company very little and can go far in convincing employees that you have their best interests at heart.

In addition to savings plans, professional development courses and other tools can help your employees build their financial skills. No longer worried as much about savings or debt, they can focus more on their jobs.

Multi-Generation Support

In the generations since the Second World War, companies that offer childcare services have attracted employees with young families. However, as America ages, more and more employees find themselves caring for elderly parents and grandparents, as well. These responsibilities can negatively affect even the most talented and hard-working employees.

You can offer multi-generation support through discounts on elder care (e.g., nursing services, physical therapists) and additional financial assistance for employees who act as a family member’s sole caregiver.

Multi-generational support means much more than aiding employees’ infants and elderly family members. It also means helping employees’ school-aged children.  myKlovr created our virtual college counseling service as a voluntary benefit that prepares high school students for college admissions success. Employees receive this benefit at a low cost and can use the app to check in on their children’s college preparation goals at any time of day.

Professional Development

Employees in hundreds of professions take professional development courses to maintain their professional licenses. These courses can cost hundreds of dollars a year, even if employees receive other discounts through professional organizations. Employers who provide group rates on professional development courses can save not only their employees money but also time. Employees without their employers’ support often waste hours researching professional development courses that meet recertification requirements. By helping their employees save time and money, employers can further raise their employees’ loyalty and job satisfaction

Keep Employees Informed

Making voluntary benefits a success at your company requires much more than a company-wide email or form. To ensure that voluntary benefits become a cornerstone of your company’s corporate culture, you have to invest the time and money to ensure that all employees understand voluntary benefits and stay up to date with the latest benefits your company offers. Consider investing in professional development, seminars, videos, and simple ‘how to’ guides. Once employees become acclimated to voluntary benefits, you can release more periodic updates.

Finally, keep prospective employees up to date by prominently displaying your latest voluntary benefits on your company or organization’s website.

Final Thoughts

Trends evolve, which means that companies must update their benefits every year to meet employees’ changing needs. This way, companies never lose out on attracting and retaining the best talent.

Voluntary Benefits: A Primer for Employers

From catered lunches to flexible work schedules, employers are doing everything they can to attract top talent away from other companies. Although attractive to employees, these benefits and perks can cost employers a tremendous amount of money. Also, not all employers can afford these services, especially when they already pay for traditional benefits packages. However, in this era of record-low unemployment, all employers must experiment with new and unique benefits. One such option involves voluntary benefits.

What Are Voluntary Benefits

The following chart breaks down some key differences between traditional and voluntary benefits.

Traditional BenefitsVoluntary Benefits
Employees receive them automatically.Employees select some benefits from a list of options.
Employers pay the cost.Employees pay the cost, but a much lower price as they receive a group rate.
As every major employer offers them, companies do not stand out to prospective employees.By curating a unique list of voluntary benefits, employers can target a particular group of professionals (e.g., millennials with young families) they want to recruit and retain.

Now that you know how traditional and voluntary benefits differ, here are some popular voluntary benefits that companies are offering their employees:

  • Identify theft protection
  • Critical-illness insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Student-loan refinancing
  • Public transportation passes

To create a benefit for employees, companies partner with a second company — a benefits broker or professional employer organization (PEO) — that manages the benefit. The two companies agree on how the benefit will work and how much employees will pay. This process costs the employer very little; the company offering the benefit knows it will make its profit from the other company’s employees. Companies can offer their employees as many or as few voluntary benefits as they please.

Should My Company Offer Voluntary Benefits?

Voluntary benefits provide a host of advantages with little to no drawback for your company. By researching the most popular voluntary benefits and surveying your employees, you can determine which benefits would best attract and retain talented professionals.

If your company has never offered voluntary benefits, employees will need to learn how these benefits can complement their traditional benefits packages. You might consider holding a company-wide seminar or training session to educate employees about voluntary benefits.

After you roll out voluntary benefits, be sure to judge your employees’ reactions and adjust benefits accordingly. Just because employees responded positively to a benefit in a survey does not automatically mean that they will stay with your company if they should receive a better offer. In other words, providing the best voluntary benefits requires continuous fine tuning, especially if your company experiences moderate to high turnover.

MyKlovr’s Unique Voluntary Benefit

The best college admission counselors often charge over $100/hour for their services, making them out of reach for most families. Since 2017, myKlovr has striven to create an affordable virtual college admission advising program for high school students and their families. For a flat monthly fee, students receive expert, tailored advice to help them raise their chances for college admission success.

Our benefit appeals to employees who could not otherwise afford college admission counseling for their high school-aged children. As of the writing of this article, myKlovr has partnered with the following companies to bring our service to families in need:

By selecting myKlovr as part of your company’s voluntary benefits package, you convey to employees that you care about their lives outside of the office. With their children’s college advising in good hands, employees can direct more energy toward their work.

Your Next Step

Now that you understand voluntary benefits and how they can help your company, consider hiring a consultant – preferably a survey researcher — to determine which benefits best match your and your employees’ needs.

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