Employers – Tip the Benefits Scale in Your Favor

April 11, 2019

With the unemployment rate at all time lows around 4%, the fight for top talent across any industry is more difficult than ever.  The most successful employers recognize that their most valuable asset is their employees, yet so does the competition down the street playing in the same labor pool.  One very effective component to attract and retain the best is to offer and communicate a robust Total Compensation Plan that includes a broad array of employee benefit solutions.  Today, most employers have employees ranging from their early 20s to individuals into their 60s – a broad range.

One size doesn’t fit all.  The needs, wants and ability of Gen Z is completely different than the Baby Boomers.  A requirement is offering a broad assortment of medical.  Worth mentioning, in case overlooked, an employer should offer plans ranging in scale of premium from low to high.  The high deductible plans appeal to Gen Z, who are looking to maximize dollars in their paycheck but also not as likely to need medical attention.  Where the rich PPO/POS plans appeal to baby boomers and individuals who are starting a family, their lower copays and out-of-pocket expenses are a big benefit.

Beyond the medical though, employers would be wise to consider the following:

  1. Tuition Reimbursement or Student Debt Repayment – a great way to attract millennials and Gen Z who want to get a bachelor or master’s degree.  These programs are gaining in terms of employers offering but adoption is still relatively low at between 5-10% of employees utilizing.
  2. Telehealth – inexpensive and more convenient way to receive medical care.  Instead of a regular doctor visit, scheduling and waiting at the office, you log on through video call on your cell phone or computer.  Most insurance companies have already integrated Telehealth into their standard benefit offering but employers and their partners are not communicating enough.
  3. Care/Patient Advocacy – more than 50% of large employers offer this service, but it is readily available to businesses of all sizes.  Employees understandably become distracted by large medical claims in their immediate family.  Having an advocate or coach to help the family navigate the complex healthcare landscape is a huge advantage to the employee and employer.
  4. Wellness Programs – A well run wellness program is a must.  These run the gamut from smoking cessation, diabetes management, weight loss and preventive health screenings.  It is important to have an active wellness committee and senior management buy-in to the process.
  5. Discounts on goods and services – third parties offer access to discounts on travel, movies, and many other consumer purchases. 
  6. Fitness Memberships/Gym Utilization Discounts – some insurance companies offer discounts if employees utilize their gym 3 days a week.  Other employers are partnering with local/national gyms to secure group discounts on memberships.
  7. Ancillary Benefits (life and disability) – continues to evolve and be a very affordable addition.  Plans are reaching beyond the traditional 60 years of age and going up to 70s.  Employers can offer some base coverage and allow employees to buy additional at a “group discount”.
  8. Retirement Plans – are your employees “retirement ready”?  Many employers are now opting new employees into the retirement plan, to help increase participation and assist employees in their retirement efforts. 

Most important is the communication of these programs.  Employers should utilize online benefit administration tools to communicate to the younger generation and have print copies available for the population that doesn’t access online.  Most employees don’t appreciate the total contribution employers are making, partly because they are not utilizing the majority of the above but also for those that are missing the opportunity to demonstrate the value. 



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