A new survey reveals the growing importance of voluntary benefits on employee retention and engagement. Voluntary benefits are benefits which are offered in addition to medical, dental and vision coverage. The survey, conducted by Corestream, underscored a knowledge gap between employers, among which 77.5% reported offering voluntary benefits, and employees, almost half of whom (49.3%) do not know what voluntary benefits are.
“Pandemic-driven decentralization of the workforce and increased economic uncertainty have created new lifestyle challenges for many people,” said Neil Vaswani, CEO and co-founder of Corestream. “For employees across industries, the line between their personal and professional worlds has blurred to an unprecedented level since COVID-19. This has created new challenges but also opportunities for employers to engage their workforce. Employers are also being forced to re-evaluate aspects of their businesses to drive greater efficiency while better supporting the wellbeing of their employees.”
Voluntary Benefits Improve Retention and Employee Engagement — And They Want More of Them
Employees and HR professionals agree that offering voluntary benefits is a great way to attract and retain talent. Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that employees will take advantage of voluntary benefits if they are provided by their employer.
- The majority of employees (68.4%) said voluntary benefits positively influence their desire to work for and stay with their employer. Nearly half of HR professionals (45.7%) said voluntary benefits attract new talent, 58.9% said they retain talent and 43% said they help with employee engagement.
- Almost 70% of employees reported that if their employer offered financial assistance and financial wellness voluntary benefits, such as low-interest loans, student loan debt refinancing and retailer discount plans, they would take advantage of them.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 employees (71.1%) reported that they would like their employers to offer more voluntary benefits.
Email is the Preferred Method of Communication for Letting Employees Know Benefits Exist
However, while 77.5% of employers offer voluntary benefits to their employees, half of the employee respondents (49.3%) stated that they don’t know what “voluntary benefits” are, indicating that there is opportunity to improve internal employee communications on voluntary benefits across companies.
- While more than half (50.8%) of HR professionals report that they spend between almost a quarter to more than half of their time talking with employees about or administering benefit programs, only 23.8% of employers communicate about benefits to employees on a regular cadence.
- Nearly a quarter (23.7%) of employees report that they don’t receive enough communication about benefits and don’t know how to access benefits or how benefits can save them money, which is in line with the perception from nearly a third (32.5%) of HR professionals who believe their employees do not fully understand the benefits (both core and voluntary) offered to them.
- A majority of employees (73%) prefer email as the method of communication about benefits. The remaining 27% of employees surveyed reported meetings and/or webinars, intranet, mail and office flyers as preferred communication methods.
“As we begin contemplating what a post-COVID19 world will look like, the value of putting people first will continue to be the right thing to do. It’s more critical than ever to provide employees with a holistic approach to benefits, giving them access to tools and initiatives that help them and their families navigate this complex time,” said Vaswani. “Voluntary benefits can convey to the workforce that their needs are understood and they are valued not only as employees but as people with responsibilities outside of the workplace. This is motivating and empowers employees to be more engaged and productive. The relationship between employer and employee, will be an increasingly valuable trait that generates greater company success.”
To learn more about the latest research from Corestream, download the infographic here.
Corestream surveyed an independent third-party panel of 152 employees and 151 HR professionals in companies of at least 5,000 people.