Synergy: Financial Wellness and Voluntary Benefits
In recent years, both financial wellness and voluntary benefits have become huge topics within the HR community. Likely originating with the ACA, benefit cutbacks and cost-shifting have led to interest in alternate ways of taking care of employees.
Financial wellness is two-fold. Employers both want to provide their workers with the opportunity to improve their overall financial health- but by doing so also benefits the employer by decreasing stress and therefor increasing productivity. A recent Aon Hewitt survey found that 76% of employers are somewhat or very likely to expand their focus on the financial well-being of their employees (2014).
So where does voluntary benefits fit into this discussion? Well, a piece of financial health and wellbeing for employees is being prepared for the unexpected. When accidents or critical illnesses happen, often times employees find themselves in a bind- they do not have enough saved to cover the out of pocket expenses required of them through the medical plan. Voluntary benefits fill this gap by providing protection in the event of the unexpected. This can take the form of accident coverage, critical illness and cancer coverage, or life insurance. Voluntary benefits are not a one-size-fits-all approach, and thus strategically planning which benefits to offer based off of an employee population is an integral piece of implementation.
As HR professionals, it may make sense to think about coordinating these initiatives. When presented appropriately, it will empower your employees to take initiative, feel engaged, and ultimately be appreciative and loyal to their employers.