Voluntary Benefits

Workers juggling both career and family may feel like their "to do" list is out of control. Work that extra hour, hit the gym, pick up kids and see to dinner, chores and homework all before bedtime. In this whirl of activity, it's no wonder that employees appreciate those employers that help them simplify their lives by offering voluntary benefits as part of an overall employee benefits program.

A 2012 survey by WellPoint found that employees continue to favor companies that offer voluntary benefits, with 90 percent of surveyed workers agreeing that voluntary benefits are a good tool to help companies balance the needs of their employees while dealing with tightening budgets. Similar to 2010 findings, saving money and offering protection for the employee and his or her family were cited as the most popular reasons for choosing to purchase a company's voluntary benefits.

Voluntary benefits, which are traditionally paid for by the employee through payroll deductions, range from life insurance benefits, short-term and long-term disability, vision and dental care to pet care, legal plans and discount health and lifestyle benefits.

Offering voluntary benefits is a cost-efficient way to support employees both personally and professionally. Employees report that they are more productive at work and they think more highly of their company, if it offers a range of benefits, including voluntary benefits.

More education needed
. The survey also found that companies can do more to help their employees understand their benefit options. Only half of workers surveyed in 2010 and 2012 report being knowledgeable about voluntary benefits. And, employees in small companies are less knowledgeable about voluntary benefits than employees at medium and large size companies.

There are a number of ways that companies can help their employees learn more about the voluntary benefits that are available to them, including organizing benefit fairs with insurance representatives, as well as group enrollment meetings.

All in all, the survey findings continue to suggest that voluntary benefits are an easy, convenient and highly beneficial tool that employers can offer their employees.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com.