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A thin labor market puts benefits in the spotlight

By: Dan Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing

A company’s success is built on the work of its employees. By extension, that makes hiring (and retaining) the best and brightest employees a critical part of success. Today, unemployment is low: 4.1 percent.1 Keep in mind, that 4.1 percent is an average, so in some places, that number may be much lower. That’s a good thing for employees, but for employers looking to hire, that means competition is fierce because there are simply fewer options. In a time like this, offering a strong benefits package is more important than ever due to the important role it plays in attracting and retaining employees.

Benefits in the spotlight

Today’s employees aren’t just looking at their salary when determining where to work. They’re also looking for flexible benefits packages, retirement options and all kinds of other perks for working at a company. There are plenty of statistics that highlight this trend:
  • 59% of employees say that benefits are very important to workplace satisfaction2
  • 62% of employees under age 50 would not take a job if voluntary benefits were not offered3
On top of that, recent tax cuts have empowered companies to expand on their benefit offerings. Potential employees are few and the benefit packages that they’re offered on the job market are improving. 

To attract and retain top talent, employers have to provide a competitive benefits package and they have to make sure that employees (both current and prospective) know about and appreciate those benefits. It’s not just about orienting your new employees to the benefits package, reorienting current employees is of great value to your current employees and their families.

Making the most of your offering

A high-quality benefits program without effective communication is like buying a Ferrari but not putting any gas in it. If you want employees to appreciate their benefits, communication is an invaluable part of the equation. Employees who meet face-to-face on their benefits are 20 percent more likely to recommend their employer than those who receive other forms of communication, and 30 percent more likely to recommend their employer than those who receive no communication at all. On top of that, research has found that the greater number of distinct communication touchpoints an employer provides, the more likely an employee is to be satisfied and to recommend their employer.4 Needless to say, if employers aren’t communicating with employees, they’re selling themselves short and won’t be able to attract and retain employees in the way they want.

Another point to consider is that, far and away, most employees are purchasing their insurance coverage for emotional reasons. Communication that can impact them and reach them on an emotional level will provide an employer with the greatest mileage. The number one reason employees enroll in their benefits is because they feel it’s important to have for peace-of-mind.4

Pairing voluntary benefits with a face-to-face enrollment is a great place to start for the ability to enhance your benefits while providing the communication employees need and want. For the employer, you can help provide communication on a personal level to employees while offering the flexibility they want and need from their benefits package.

A changing market means that the challenge of attracting employees has become a bit more difficult. At the same time, employers have more options than ever to build a rich and unique benefits program along with a variety of tools to communicate about that program. Employers are raising the bar, but the voluntary benefits one-on-one enrollment process can help provide the employee communication solutions they need to go above and beyond to stay ahead in the labor market.

About the author

Dan is responsible for sales and marketing at Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions. He began his career at Capitol Bankers Life Insurance Company where he was vice president of mass marketing sales and data processing. He also served as a vice president at Alexander Hamilton Life. After joining National Worksite Benefits as vice president of marketing, he was part of the team involved in the creation of National Worksite Advantage (NWA), a consolidated billing TPA. He served as president for NWA, which was eventually purchased by Trustmark and is now Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions. Dan has spoken to various industry groups such as VEBB, NAHU and MDRT. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College, majoring in computer science. Dan was elected into the Workplace Benefits Hall of Fame in 2013.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. March, 2018.
2 “Tax reform, tight labor market bust open the lid on benefits”. EBN. 2018.
3 Trustmark Independent Employer Survey Conducted by The Connell Group. April, 2015
4 Consumer Benefit Analytics. 2017.

Posted on April 11, 2018 in Broker News Employee Communication

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