Hickock Boardman Benefits

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Once Size Fits All: Or Does It?

It’s no secret that great employees are tough to find. The search for them can be arduous and costly, and when they are finally on the payroll, there is no guarantee they won’t be stolen away by a more competitive salary or benefits package offering. It’s truly a tug of war for the best people. But with the rising cost of healthcare outpacing wages and inflation and the reality of the “bottom line” it’s unrealistic for employers to make a more competitive benefits offering…..or is it? Friends, the game is afoot and to compete in this race for the best and brightest, you’ll have to think outside the box.

A look at the Past

For more than forty years businesses have been incentivized to offer health benefits as a part of an employee’s compensation package. Over time, this offering became the standard and in an effort to stay competitive and attract the attention of great employees (and keep them!), employers have worked to differentiate themselves by making higher contributions to these health plans. They also began to provide things such as HSA’s, FSA’s or HRA’s as well as life insurance, short and long term disability and/or AD&D.  For the employers who were able to keep up with the costs of this benefits trend we once again see a standard or a “one size fits all” benefits package; creating for them another quest to stay competitive. Unfortunately, for the employers who were unable to keep up with the benefits trend, they often experience a high rate of turnover, which is also quite costly. Couple these challenges with the fact that there are now five generations in the workforce with varying needs and preferences, the “one size fits all” benefits offering no longer quite fits.

Whether providing benefits or not, employers are facing the same challenge: how to compete for the best talent amongst a varying demographic when the bottom line is simply tapped out. So, what can you do? What’s the solution? To find that, let’s first do a bit of listening and tune in to what employees are saying about their needs and what employers are finding to be successful.

A Look at Current Trends

A 2017 poll of 5,000 employees nationwide, conducted by Lightspeed/GMI [1] found four unsurprising themes:

 1) Financial insecurity is the norm . Sadly, more than two thirds (65%) of employees polled could pay less than $1,000 in out of pocket cost for an unexpected medical event. More than 50% had been negatively affected by high medical costs, ranging from avoiding necessary treatment because they could not afford the expense to ultimately having to file for bankruptcy.

2) Benefits are linked to retention and career happiness. The survey found that 40% of employees were not satisfied with their benefits and that 50% would look for a different job if their employer did not provide adequate benefits. These aren’t the happiest of statistics but hang in there! Of those that were very satisfied with their benefits, 80% were content in their career choice. That’s a much better-looking statistic! However,