The Future of Worksite Benefits & Why Employers Must Adapt

Employee Benefits, War For Talent

Worksite benefits are having a moment. The COVID-19 pandemic directly impacted employees’ expectations in the workplace and now employers must adjust. Forward-thinking employers recognize that top employees need (and want) more than the traditional benefit package. Employees who have spent the past year contemplating their place in the workforce are seeking out roles within organizations that offer worksite benefits – AKA benefits that supplement core health benefits – with more focus than ever.

Worksite benefits are no longer a “nice-to-have” – they’re a necessity.

Workers expect worksite benefits in 2021

In research conducted by Eastbridge Consulting, more than half of employers predicted that COVID-19 would increase employee enrollment in voluntary programs. Employees expect to have voluntary worksite benefits available to them, and employers who are looking for an edge in a hyper-competitive labor market will have to respond accordingly. 

If you are an organization who has had worksite benefits in place for a while, now is a good time to reevaluate your offering. Have your plans maintained solid participation, or have they become dormant and need a fresh look? Maybe you already have Critical Illness & Accident insurance, but have you rounded out with Hospital Indemnity coverage?

Insurance carriers love this space, which means rates are at historic lows and contracts keep getting stronger – how do yours stack up?  Are your employees getting the most bang for their buck from the plans you placed years ago and maybe haven’t revisited since?  Carriers in the worksite market have responded swiftly to the pandemic, with close to half indicating they’re making COVID-19-related product modifications. Have you kept pace?

Going beyond traditional worksite benefits, employers should consider leaning into key financial wellness benefits as well:

  • Pet insurance – the pandemic puppies drove an increased interest in pet insurance in 2020, a trend we see continuing into 2021. Making this in-demand benefit a part of your portfolio can help set your benefits package apart from the competition.
  • Identity theft protection – victims of an identity theft are much more likely to miss work as they spend an average of 150+ hours to resolve it. Identity theft protection services help mitigate the risk of a breach and provide resources for resolution if one happens.
  • Student loan repayment programs – more than 80% of employees say they’d be willing to stick around 5 more years for an employer who helps with their student loan debt. If you’re looking to retain an educated workforce, take heart! The CARES Act introduced tax-favored treatment for employer contributions to employees’ student loan debt. 

The future of worksite benefits is bright. Employers are engaged in a serious war for talent, and worksite benefits are a cost-effective weapon in the arsenal to recruit, retain and engage your workforce. In fact, employers who do not offer worksite benefits of any kind may find that they are not able to maintain the high level of talent at their organization that they have come to expect. Employees expect worksite benefits from employers in 2021. Employers who win will be attuned to these shifting employee product expectations and aware of what’s available in the market.

If it’s time to take a look at your worksite benefit offerings, reach out to your M3 account executive. Your trusted advisor will be able to provide recommendations specific to your employee population’s needs and desires.

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