The New Benefits Equation

The New Benefits Equation

The key to retention is a competitive benefits package

by Stephanie Shields

Ms. Shields is senior vice president of Broker Sales at Aflac. Her responsibilities include driving growth and deepening partnerships with Aflac’s top broker and technology partners, as well as driving innovation through the continued expansion of Aflac’s U.S. product portfolio. Visit

Competition for top talent appears to be a growing concern for businesses across the nation. Not only is it difficult to hire new talent, but existing employees may also be lured away by other businesses. Adding insult to injury, hiring a replacement can cost employers an estimated 33 percent of the previous worker’s annual salary.1 Keeping top talent is an issue that businesses of all sizes and industries must address, which means it is vital that businesses hold onto the talented workers they already employ to stay competitive – and to help reduce costs.

Advisors know that benefits offerings play an important role in employee retention. Research shows that 39 percent of employees said increasing their benefits would keep them in their current role.2 As clients work to decrease employee turnover, benefits advisors can show them how to demonstrate the value of their benefit offerings to employees.

1. Educate employers on the value of voluntary benefits
Seventy-two percent of employees feel a benefits package offering is extremely or very important to their job satisfaction, and 88 percent feel it is extremely or very important to their employer loyalty.2 By offering a robust benefits package with voluntary products, such as critical illness, accident or hospital insurance from companies like Aflac, clients can help employees have added peace of mind, no matter what stage of life they are in.

2. Having a benefits advisor matters
Employers who use a broker or benefits advisor are more likely than those who do not (79 percent vs. 71 percent) to say that the benefits their company offers enable them to reduce turnover.2 Strong partnerships with benefits advisors can bring more value to the benefits options an employer offers – which, in return, can often help increase worker retention.

3. Explain how strong benefits increase employee engagement
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2018 Employee Financial Wellness Survey revealed that one-quarter of employees said personal finances have been a distraction at work.3 It also showed that not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses was the top financial concern for millennial and Gen X respondents.3 Advisors can explain that a robust health benefits offering can act as a financial safety net for employees to help relieve some of their financial stress. When employees feel prepared for the future, they can focus more on their work and day-to-day responsibilities.

and 88 percent feel it is extremely or very important to their employer loyalty

4. Show the need for improved benefits communication
Sometimes employees do not need more benefits options; they simply need a consistent cadence of communication about what they already have. Advisors can work with employers year-round to develop a communications plan to effectively offer tips on how employees can best utilize the benefits they already have. Regular communication from a benefits advisor can better enable employees to make more informed choices – which can help improve employee well-being, engagement and morale within the organization.

5. Recognize the significance of social responsibility
Today, businesses are increasingly critiqued on measures such as how they treat their employees. Since nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of employees have less than $1,000 available to pay for unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses,2 providing access to quality benefits helps clients show genuine care for their employees by helping meet a practical financial need.

Building a case for benefits

Benefits advisors recognize that offering salaries alone may not attract and retain top talent. By helping employers to think more critically about what benefits they are offering and how they are communicating with employees, advisors can help clients tackle high turnover rates and further gain clients’ trust. ◊




1. Valerie Bolden-Barrett. Study: Turnover Costs Employers $15,000 Per Worker. Accessed July 31, 2018.
2. The 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report is the eighth annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes. The surveys, conducted by Lightspeed, captured responses from 1,700 benefits decision-makers and 2,000 employees across the United States in various industries. For more information, visit
3 PricewaterhouseCoopers. 2018 Employee Financial Wellness Survey. Accessed July 31, 2018.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation.Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and/or American Family Life Assurance Company of New York and/or Continental American Insurance Company and /or Continental American Life Insurance Company.