If your scope of responsibility encompasses any facet of the employee benefits space, you are certainly going to experience a shift in the types of products available in the next few years. More progressive companies are entertaining a myriad of voluntary options now, verses later, as they recognize the immediate need to cater to the demographics of their employee population. While nontraditional products may not be on the radar for every company, it is important to be knowledgeable of the types of products that are experiencing an increase in demand.
As health care reform legislation evolves, employers must find a way to balance the task of cost containment with the need to maintain a competitive array of voluntary benefit solutions. Employers can offset some expenses by diversifying their voluntary offerings. In addition to incorporating “value-added” benefits – which will generate new revenue streams and increase employee satisfaction – employers must educate their employees about the benefits. Let people know what is available and why it is available. Convey the savings available to the employee when a product or service is purchased as voluntary benefit versus purchasing this item in the open market. Most importantly, communicate! The best products will not serve a purpose without communication and education. As an employer, if you are looking to generate revenue, offset cost, and satisfy your teams, then make sure you take ownership in the product to ensure viability for the organization as a whole.
According to the recent Towers Watson’s 2013 Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey, “critical Illness and identity theft insurance, along with financial counseling are emerging voluntary benefit offerings that employers are considering for 2015.” As companies look to reconfigure their voluntary offerings to meet the needs of Generation X and Generation Y employees, they need to consider technology products that garner interest from this population. Whole-Home Technology Support and Online Data Backup are starting to gain traction in the voluntary space.
Considering the growing number of electronic devices, smart devices, & PC’s in homes today, employees want to know everything is going to work when they need it to work. Additionally, they want a sense of security knowing they will not lose the thousands of pictures taken from their phone. Think about it, when is the last time you had pictures of your baby or new puppy developed? I feel bad for my fourth child. My first three children all have “normal” pictures in an album. With my fourth child, many of his digital photos were on a device that had not been backed-up. I learned my lesson the hard way.
As you continue to consider what to offer your employees, be sure to take the time to consider all your product options. As the voluntary space expands, more products will be available by companies that are new(er) to the arena. These companies that may not have the brand name; do not let that deter you. Take a look at the product quality, compensation structure, and integration capabilities. Vendor competition can play a key role in allowing your organization to offer unique products which are tailored to your employee population – at a great price – for the employees as well as the company.