How benefits influence workplace satisfaction
by Drew NiziakMr. Niziak is senior vice president of Broker Sales at Aflac. He has more than 20 years of experience in group sales in the insurance industry and is senior vice president of Broker Sales at Aflac. He is responsible for broker sales strategy as well as the development of national and regional marketing relationships with insurance brokers. Visit Aflac.com
In today’s competitive marketplace, companies put a lot of energy into hiring top talent. Great effort goes into attracting those employees, from providing comfortable salaries and signing bonuses to the promise of flexible work days and extended vacation time.
While attracting good talent is a top priority for many organizations, retaining good talent is a priority not far behind. By helping clients ensure benefits offerings are plentiful, competitive and affordable, advisors play a key role in their clients’ employee retention and overall workplace satisfaction in more ways than one. Here are three helpful ways to influence satisfaction in the workplace.
1. Educate employers on the value of voluntary benefits
It’s becoming more important than ever for clients to understand offering benefits is more than checking off the box. Benefits are about protecting the lifestyles employees love, no matter what unexpected events occur.
Voluntary insurance is more likely to be offered at growing companies (29 percent) than at companies that have maintained (24 percent) or declined (18 percent) in terms of sales or revenue in the last 12 months. Nationally, 27 percent of employers offer voluntary products to their employees, most often life, short-term disability, accident and long-term disability. Of those, 49 percent do so to satisfy employee need, interest or demand.
By offering a robust benefits package with voluntary products such as disability, accident or hospital insurance, clients can enable employees to customize their coverage to fit their individual lifestyles, with little to no effect on the company’s bottom line.
2. Position benefits as a strategy for employee engagement and retention
For the past seven years, Aflac has conducted an annual survey designed to gauge employer and employee attitudes and opinions about health care, benefits and related topics. The results reveal just how concerned employees are about health care costs and how critical health care benefits are to job satisfaction, productivity, retention and recruitment.
In fact, 39 percent of employees surveyed said improving their benefits package is one thing their employers could do to keep them in their jobs1. The answer was second only to “increase my salary.” What’s more, 58 percent of employees would be at least somewhat likely to accept a job offer with slightly lower compensation but better benefits. Employees report their benefits package offerings are extremely or very important to:
- Job satisfaction – 65 percent
- Loyalty to employer – 58 percent
- Work productivity – 50 percent
- Workplace engagement – 43 percent
- The decision to leave an employer – 42 percent
- Willingness to refer a friend – 44 percent1
Enabling employees to protect their finances is another critical component, given that 65 percent of employees report having less than $1,000 on hand to pay out-of-pocket expenses associated with unexpected serious illnesses or accidents and 39 percent have less than $500. Because employees have so little set aside for medical emergencies, an unexpected illness or injury can wreak havoc on other aspects of their lives.1
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey revealed that more than one-quarter (28 percent) of employees said personal finances have been a distraction at work.2 Advisors can explain that a robust health benefits offering can act as a financial safety net for employees and help relieve some of their financial stress. When employees feel prepared for the future, they can more easily focus on their work and day-to-day responsibilities.
Therefore, benefits advisors can be a key resource in helping clients protect their employees’ well-being and keeping them focused and engaged on the job.
3. Highlight the advantages of having a benefits advisor
Sometimes employees simply need to understand the benefits options that are offered. Through a consistent cadence of communication, advisors can work with employers year-round to regularly offer tips on how employees can take advantage of the benefits they already have. Research shows that nearly half of employers (47 percent) who use a broker or benefits advisor do so because of their strong knowledge of employee benefits best practices.1
Consistent communication and relying on benefits advisors’ expertise can better enable employees to make more informed choices about how they can protect and maintain their lifestyles – resulting in improved employee well-being, engagement and morale within the organization.
Building a case for voluntary benefits
Employees depend on having the right benefits options, and advisors know it takes more than a salary alone to attract and retain top talent. Overall, 81 percent of Aflac WorkForces Report participants said they see a growing need for voluntary benefits, and 90 percent at least somewhat consider voluntary insurance part of a comprehensive benefits program.1
By spreading their knowledge about the value of benefits, advisors can help clients tackle high turnover rates and further gain clients’ trust.
The bottom line is that voluntary insurance enables lifestyles to go unchanged so employees can continue engaging in the events and activities that make life more enjoyable. When the needs and expectations of employees are met, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, more engaged and more productive.◊
1. 2017 Aflac WorkForces Report. The Report is the seventh annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes. The study’s surveys, conducted by Lightspeed GMI, captured responses from 1,800 benefits decision-makers and 5,000 employees across the United States in various industries. For more information, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com.
2. PwC, “2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey,” https://www.pwc.com/us/en/private-company-services/publications/assets/pwc-2016-employee-wellness-survey.pdf – accessed on April 24, 2017.