How Voluntary Benefits Help Small Businesses

Small Business Week is being celebrated from May 5-11, 2019, and so we thought we’d share how voluntary benefits can help small businesses—in particular, how they can help these businesses compete for quality employees.

Although recruiting and retaining good employees is a challenge for businesses of all sizes, the deeper pockets of larger companies can put the big boys at a significant advantage. Sure, a desired job candidate may like the company culture of a small business, but this may not be enough for that person to ultimately choose the small biz.

Voluntary benefits, though, can help to even the playing field in key ways. In fact, according to a survey released by the American Institute of CPAs in November 2018, 80 percent of people surveyed shared how they’d “choose a job with benefits over an identical job that offered 30 percent more salary but no benefits.” And, because voluntary benefits are paid for by employees—with the employees able to access desired benefits at affordable group rates—this can be a smart way to sweeten the recruiting and retaining pot.

According to CorporateWellnessMagazine.com, offering a choice of benefits that meets employee needs is “extremely important for creating loyalty” among:

  • 41 percent of Gen Y employees
  • 40 percent of Gen X employees
  • 30 percent of younger Baby Boomers
  • 31 percent of older Baby Boomers

The article notes how “nontraditional voluntary benefits” offer tangible benefits to employees in part because they’re available year round. For example, a small business might decide that, to obtain a more educated workforce, they will purchase a computer for those who take college classes, thereby fulfilling a need—right when it’s needed.

Voluntary benefits, according to the magazine, can also:

  • support human resource goals
  • reinforce company culture
  • promote healthier lifestyles

Small business owners can provide employees with access to a menu of voluntary benefits, which gives workers the freedom of choice.

HRDive.com continues on this theme, noting how more than 70 percent of survey participants “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that a key consideration in evaluating a future job is “fringe benefits.” One benefit that’s increasing in popularity, as just one example, is protection against cyber-threats, including those that lead to identity theft problems.

To sum up, voluntary workplace benefits:

  • expand benefit choices for employees
  • come at a lower cost than if purchased by an individual
  • can help small businesses to recruit and retain valued employees

Because of their worth, voluntary benefits, says BenefitsPro.com, have gone mainstream – which means that larger numbers of businesses are offering them (which means it’s likely that your competitors are offering something your star employees would like to have!).

These benefits are popular because employees can choose what they want, customizing their own packages, making them a “key tool in an employer’s recruitment and retention strategies.” Companies are also using benefits portals to provide easier access to benefits “to help employees navigate as well as understand benefits offerings.”

In 2018, the Society for Human Resource Management noted how voluntary benefits are no longer being considered as “simply add-ons.” Instead, they are a way to offer choices as they address employee needs, a way to “allow employees to personalize their rewards.”

To see how perspectives about voluntary benefits have changed, a Willis Towers Watson report, 2018 Emerging Trends: Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey, showed that:

  • only 5 percent of large employers say that voluntary benefits have “little importance to the value they offer employees”
  • five years ago, 41 percent of employers surveyed agreed with that same statement
  • 69 percent of them believe that, in three to five years, voluntary benefits will be “a very or more-important component of their total rewards strategy”

Now, we’ll take a look at one specific type of voluntary benefits: group legal.

Alleviating the Stress of Legal Issues

A Canadian study revealed some universal truths: that legal challenges frequently cause stress and even physical health problems for involved parties. Nearly 50% of Canadian adults, this article shares, will experience a legal challenge they consider “serious or difficult to resolve.” And, nearly one in five of these people experience stress and/or emotional problems directly because of the legal issue—while 39.1% of adults aged 18 to 35 report physical health problems because of legal issues. When looking at adults aged 55 to 65, 61.5% of them experience physical problems as part of the legal process!

This kind of stress is detrimental to the people experiencing it, as well as to the workplace in general, and “can work against attaining business goals,” says an article by the Houston Chronicle. You might notice the stressed-out employee become “argumentative or easily agitated” and “make more mistakes and demonstrate a general decline in performance. Frequent absenteeism or being late to work may also be stress indicators. Your business can suffer dramatically from a resulting lack of customer service, uncompleted projects, orders not being placed or a noticeable decline in sales.”

Fight Back with Legal Benefit Plans

A voluntary benefits plan can help your employees defend their families, protect their identity, and otherwise have peace of mind when legal issues arise. With our Family Defender™ program, your employees can have access to local attorneys for situations such as a divorce, or child support and/or custody. This plan also provides legal benefits when traffic violations exist, lawsuits are filed, debts are accrued and more.

With Identity Defender™, your employees will have access to an affordable Fraud Resolution Specialist™ who will provide emergency response activities—seven different ways!—within 24 hours. This is crucial for your employees to monitor and protect their identifies, as well as restore good credit. And, if your company uses commercial drivers, ask about our CDL Defender™ program.

Employers, for more information about offering group legal to your employees, and how it can benefit your company in multiple ways, contact us online today or call 1-800-356-LAWS. We look forward to discussing your needs and providing you with a quote.

Happy Small Business Week!