Employee satisfaction primary driver for voluntary benefit offerings: Survey

Life, disability insurance most common offerings at U.S. firms
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/09/2011

Although many companies continue to tighten their financial belts, when it comes to voluntary benefits, United States employers are much more employee-focused as opposed to cost driven, found a recent survey.

The survey, The Gauging the Success of Voluntary Benefits by Prudential, found that 75 per cent of employers said their top reason for offering voluntary benefits is to expand the benefits options available to their employees, with 42 per cent offering voluntary benefits to fulfill an employee need, and 30 per cent offering them at their employees’ request.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents said they offer one or more voluntary benefits including life insurance (63 per cent), disability insurance (56 per cent) and dental insurance (52 per cent). Ranking lower on their priority list were critical illness insurance (35 per cent) and long-term care insurance (33 per cent).

“Voluntary benefits have great value for both employers and employees. Unlike traditional health insurance paid for entirely or in part by employers, voluntary benefits typically are a cost-effective option for employers to provide,” said Jim Gemus, senior vice-president of Prudential Group Insurance. “For employees, the benefits offer a convenient and affordable way to purchase life, disability, long-term care, dental and vision insurance, while offsetting the income-related risks of a disability, long-term illness or the death of the family member.”

Employees increasingly view the workplace as an important source for personal insurance and savings products. One-half of workers surveyed said convenience was the most common advantage and driving factor in purchasing voluntary benefits because they pay for them through payroll deduction, representing a nine-point increase since the study was conducted in 2008. Fifty-two per cent said offering voluntary benefits increases the value of their company’s offerings.

The study found a correlation between voluntary benefits offerings and employee satisfaction. For employers, employee satisfaction is the top gauge of success (47 per cent) followed by achieving a certain set participation rate (34 per cent).

“Employees’ increasing interest and knowledge of their benefits options, combined with employers’ renewed focus on employee satisfaction is a win-win situation for all,” said Gemus.

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