The New “Traditional” Employer Benefit Package

The New “Traditional” Employer Benefit Package

Renita Charrlin

Apr 1, 2011

The New “Traditional” Employer Benefit Package

Written By Renita Charrlin

Benefits of any kind are powerful tools to recruit, retain and reward employees.   Traditional employer provided benefits such as healthcare are continuing to rise in costs.   And, employers are continuing to pass more of this cost along to the employee in the form of increased deductibles, higher premiums, reduced benefits, or all or a combination of the above.   This continued cost shift from employer to employee is changing rapidly and, most certainly, is changing the overall value of traditional benefits in the eyes of the employee.   Consequently –employers need to look to other options benefits if they expect to attract and retain desired employees.  

Both employers and employees are increasingly in search of additional, high-value, benefits that provide employees with convenient, self-serve technology where they can receive substantial discounts, rebates, and time saving features that are not available elsewhere.    These “voluntary” benefits are certainly not new.   We immediately think of insurance-related products (eye, life, dental, disability, long-term care, and auto/home) offered at a reduced, group rate and convenient payment through payroll deduction. 
Today, though, both employers and employees are looking for benefits that are outside of the traditional suite of insurance products.    New Age forces are accelerating this need due to: 

A Belt-Tightening Economy – employers and employees alike are looking to optimize their money wherever possible;

Increased Expectations –employers are expecting higher skills and more productivity from employees while salary increases are being held to a minimum.  Employees, in turn, to remain loyal, are expecting more measureable “rewards” from employers that go beyond just compensation.

On-Line Consumerism – nearly 100% of employees today have access to computers at work and many already engage in on-line, employer-provided benefit shopping through their employer’s intranet.    And, over 75% of all households have computers where information and just about any kind of goods or services desired is just a click away.   This accessibility, combined with the desire to save both money and time, is changing employee’s knowledge, expectations and behaviors;

Tech Savvy and Money Conscious, Gen X and Y employees… the new movers and shakers.  They expect online, high-quality information from flexible, yet reliable service options that they can view, evaluate and purchase “anywhere-anytime.”  And, they expect, to get on-line discounts and rebates that are not otherwise available.   

The new age is here!  Traditional benefits is quickly morphing into a broad suite of voluntary benefits provided at little to no cost to the employer that delivers high value to the employee .   These offerings, from traditional retailers to more complex services and major investments like the buying, selling, and renting real estate, will provide discounts and rebates that are not available elsewhere.   Employer-provided services dedicated to saving the employee time and money by on-line, intranet access, on-line customer support from suppliers, and empowering the employee with the ability to access high-quality resources and information will lead to better decisions, increased purchasing power or ability to use savings to offset the growing costs of traditional insurance related benefits.   Recent surveys support that more than 80% of workers perceive voluntary benefits to be extremely valuable and expected. 
What steps are needed?  Employer’s need to (1) endorse and encourage employee activity on the intranet (2) expand voluntary benefit offerings outside of non-insurance services (3) use direct purchasing power or engage a voluntary benefit outsourcer (VBO) to procure suppliers (4) look for unique, high-quality, high-tech, pre-qualified suppliers committed to the concept of “B2B” and who provide volume driven discounts and rebates not available elsewhere, and (5) communicate and encourage utilization.   

Employers who expand their “care” to employee’s overall health and financial wellness through expanded voluntary benefits will have happier, more productive and loyal employees….saving time and thousands of dollars for both employee and employer.

About the Author

Renita Charrlin, CRP, SGMS, a well-traveled employee relocation and real estate veteran, is Co-Founder and a Managing Partner of Employee HomeView, LLC  a web-based technology company dedicated to the voluntary benefit industry , providing all employees with a  dynamic, single platform of real estate buy, sell, refinance, rent, and moving “tips and how-to’s” , pre-qualified suppliers, live support, discounts and rebates.   She can be reached at [email protected].