5 Top Voluntary Benefits Employees Want

June 30, 2021 |read icon 5 min read

The pandemic forced American businesses and employees to adapt quickly. While there were many unexpected experiences, some developed into positive opportunities. One of which is a new appreciation for employee benefits, especially voluntary coverage.

For years, voluntary benefits have been popular with employees. But voluntary coverage took on new meaning as the plans provided security for employees during uncertain times. Many employers view voluntary plans as essential to their employees’ compensation and rewards strategies. As employers plan for new benefits packages, they should consider including five top voluntary benefits employees want.

Financial planning

Financial well-being programs support employees as they deal with a range of problems, such as paying bills, handling unexpected expenses or saving for the future. Since employees in every life stage have different financial worries and needs, employers need to offer different benefits.

A recent study found 44% of respondents said they are more or somewhat worse off than they were before the pandemic. Many people were faced with job loss and unexpected bills. They had to learn the financial discipline to manage their budgets.

Offering financial well-being programs is an effective strategy to retain and recruit talented employees. They appreciate financial well-being benefits that help them deal with their money struggles.

Student loan repayment

Many employees with student loans find the burden of their debts is overwhelming. They want to work for an employer who will help repay their loans.

Many employees with student loans live paycheck to paycheck, hoping they won’t have unexpected expenses. Most have less than $1,000 in savings. They frequently use their credit cards to pay for medical bills. About 64% of employees with student loans owe more than $20,000. About 31% owe over $50,000 in student loans.

Offering a student loan repayment benefit would help ease employees’ financial worries. And without financial stress, employees can focus on their work. As a result, they are more satisfied and productive, which helps businesses succeed.

Pet insurance

Pet adoptions soared during the pandemic. Employees working from home wanted the companionship of a pet to comfort them during the day. However, taking care of a pet can be expensive. The American Pet Products Association reports that people spent $103.6 billion on pets in 2020, compared to $90.5 billion in 2018. Studies show that 3.1 million dogs and cats were covered by pet health insurance in 2020.

More and more employers are adding pet insurance as a voluntary benefit option for employees. It’s another way employers can show they care about their employees’ needs. Offering this coverage provides security for employees concerned about the welfare of their precious furry family members.

Identity protection

Identification theft is a growing problem in the United States. It’s one of the top three types of fraud complaints. Reports of identity theft skyrocketed to nearly 1.4 million in 2020. The Federal Trade Commission reports a 2,920% increase in the annual hike of identity theft cases. Stolen identities were used to apply for government benefits, including unemployment compensation.

A Willis Towers Watson survey found that nearly 53% of employers offer identity theft insurance. About 78% of employers plan to add it as a voluntary benefit option in 2022.

Hospital indemnity, critical care insurance

Since employees depend on the security of their health benefits, many employers include hospital indemnity and critical care insurance benefits. These plans provide assurance for employees concerned about paying for unexpected medical expenses. Studies show that about 61% of employees rank health benefits as one of the top three benefits they want when taking a new job. They consider voluntary hospital indemnity and critical care insurance coverage as essential health benefits.

Studies show that job applicants carefully review the benefits available when considering a new position. And it’s easier to keep them on the job if they like their benefits. Review these employee benefit trends.

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