Most employees expect their workplace benefits to play a larger role in their future job selection (68%) and in their household financial decisions (61%), according to a survey by Voya Financial.
“This could be an opportunity for employers to help improve the benefits enrollment experience in the battle to retain and attract top talent,” noted Nate Black, VP of Consumer Driven Health, Voya Financial.
In addition, as a result of Covid-19, six in 10 of the employees surveyed agreed that the pandemic has made them think more carefully about the types of workplace benefits offered by their employer.
“Employers are increasingly seeing the value their workplace benefits can provide when they think holistically about their financial picture and they are looking to their employers for solutions—and the pandemic has only increased this value by shining a spotlight on the convergence of health and wealth,” explained Rob Grubka, CEO of Health Solutions, Voya Financial. “Many have experienced first-hand how an unexpected illness or an expensive visit to the hospital can have a significant impact on the financial well-being of their household."
According to Voya research, 81% of employees are interested in employer support that would improve their overall financial wellness, and 75% of working Americans want help navigating an unexpected life event like an accident or critical illness.
"This only underscores the importance that employers need to place on the benefits they offer—alternatively, they may risk losing top talent in today’s competitive job market," he added.
The findings of the survey come at a time when working Americans are voluntarily changing jobs. This is often referred to as the “Great Resignation,” as employers focus their efforts on attracting and retaining top talent. According to PwC’s analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “quit” rate for professional and business-services occupations was 4.1% as of June 2021, up from about 3% in February 2020.
Reviewing Benefits Not A Top Priority
In spite of this growing appreciation for workplace benefits, a whopping 72% of employees surveyed would rather perform other tasks such as visiting the dentist for a cleaning or preparing for tax season than review their annual-enrollment benefits like medical, dental, vision and voluntary benefits, added Black.
This leads to a key trend identified in the survey. “Employees are looking for help,” Black said. “They want a comprehensive benefits package, but also need help in making informed decisions about the benefits they choose. Many are struggling with how to wisely spend their benefits dollars.”
A key area to focus on in assisting employees with this crucial task is to offer them help during the open-enrollment period as well as throughout the year, added Black. Ongoing engagement is essential, he stressed.
To help address this challenge, earlier this year, Voya nationally launched myHealthMoney digital assistant, which provides employees going through the open enrollment process with personalized recommendations for a medical health plan, supplemental health insurance and HSA/FSA contribution guidance, based on their unique situation.
Helping Employees Is Critical
The open-enrollment season lasts for only about four weeks, Black concluded, but employees must be engaged and educated about their benefits throughout their lives.
A few decades ago, he said, most employees had few benefits decisions to make. But today, the average employee has about 17 choices during open enrollment, which makes for a high degree of complexity. The industry needs to adopt an integrated and holistic approach in educating employees, as well as proactively engage them in the fight to retain top talent, Black added.
Ayo Mseka has more than 30 years of experience reporting on the financial-services industry. She formerly served as Editor-In-Chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Contact her at [email protected]