Three Tips to Identify and Maximize Voluntary Benefits
In this article published in the September 2017 issue of California Broker, Sutter Health Plus Vice President of Sales Rob Carnaroli discusses how brokers can help clients enhance their benefit package and add something new and exciting for employees.
In addition to the core medical benefits employers pay for or contribute toward, some employers elect to offer employee-paid voluntary benefits. This may include insurance for eye care, acupuncture and chiropractic services, critical illness, life, pets, autos and homes, identity theft, prepaid legal services and more.
Many employers include voluntary benefits as part of their comprehensive benefit packages to attract and retain the best talent of all ages, from millennials to baby boomers. In fact, approximately 77 percent of workers say the benefits package is an important factor in their decision to accept or reject a job, according to a recent survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
What’s in it for you as a broker? A broker who includes voluntary benefits in the portfolio of offerings can help a client enhance their benefit package and add something new and exciting for employees. Voluntary benefits should suit your client and the people they employ—you do not want to take a “one size fits all” approach.
Following are three tips to help you identify and communicate voluntary benefits that are beneficial to your clients.
Tip 1: Know your customer
The key to presenting a voluntary benefits package to a client is knowing what appeals to them.
Does the company employ a large percentage of millennials or baby boomers? Younger employees are more interested in voluntary benefits that offer flexibility and portability, while older employees are more likely to show an interest in benefits that help them plan for the future, like life insurance or critical illness coverage. And dental and vision insurance plans are adopted by a high percentage of workers of all ages.
Tip 2: Communicate accordingly
Today, there are a wide variety of communication channels you and your clients can use to get messages out about benefits. However, you should tailor techniques based on the demographics of your client. Older employees tend to like printed materials and in-person open enrollment meetings. Mid-career employees are more apt to use emails. Millennials prefer text messages and social media posts. Online chat functions on websites are now commonplace and continue to grow as a communications tool because they provide instantaneous answers.
Also consider language barriers and cultural differences in employee groups. Ask your client for a company breakdown so you can be prepared to present materials in different languages if necessary. If you are hosting a webinar or conference call for multiple client sites, remember the time differences between certain states and other countries. Use infographics if possible—they continue to be a valuable tool to communicate complex, detailed information in a visually compelling and easy-to-understand way.
Tip 3: Use examples
You have no doubt found it important to use real-world examples to help your clients and their employees see the value of medical benefits. Voluntary benefit offerings can be just as complicated and difficult to understand as any other benefit.
Your client’s employees want to know how voluntary benefits will protect them and their loved ones and not be a burden on their monthly finances. Use real and tangible examples to demonstrate to your clients and their employees how voluntary benefits will benefit them.
If you’re looking to stand out above the competition, why not consider adding voluntary benefit options to your portfolio of offerings? By using the strategies, tactics and tips mentioned here, you will place yourself in a good position to help your clients meet the needs of their business and attract and retain talented employees in a competitive marketplace.