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6 Non-Traditional Voluntary Trends in 2017

/ January 28, 2017

 

Traditional voluntary benefits include products that complement company-sponsored core benefits that suit employees’ individual needs. With non-traditional voluntary benefits, employees can even further personalize their benefits package, choosing optional benefits that resonate the most with their needs and lifestyles.

Not only are the non-traditional voluntary benefits a true competitive advantage for employers, but they also allow employees to extend their financial safety net and enhance their personal lives.

So what should we expect in 2017 in non-traditional voluntary benefits? Thanks to BenefitsPro, here are six trends to look for:

1.  Employers will offer more non-traditional voluntary benefit options. 

Non-traditional voluntary benefits — including services such as identity theft protection, cyber security insurance, financial counseling services, tuition assistance and elder care — have risen in popularity in recent years because they allow the employee to choose benefits that meet their changing needs and lifestyles.

Since employees pay the entire cost of non-traditional voluntary benefits, there’s no reason for employers not to offer a variety. There are new non-traditional voluntary benefits appearing every year.

2.    Customization will go to a new level. 

There’s more to customizing benefits than employee age alone. While looking at the characteristics of the generations is valuable, over-generalizing the generations doesn’t foster customization because it fails to take into consideration differences in lifestyles, financial habits and more. Looking closer at personas within the generations based on lifestyle and buying preferences provides a method for employers to further customize benefits that are important to their workforce.

Organizations that take customization of benefits to heart and embrace this further segmentation of the generations will be able to structure their benefits in a way that will attract, retain, and engage employees they need for the future.

3.    Digitalization will expand even more. 

Now that millennials dominate the workforce, they are driving the digitalization of benefits education and benefits communication. In 2017, look for even more use of mobile, video, social media, benefit portals and interactive tools for benefits education and communication.

4.    Financial wellness offerings will increase. 

In the past few years, employers have come to realize that financial health is just as important as physical health. Study after study confirms that employees who are financially stressed are distracted by their finances at work and are less productive. Therefore, companies are looking for ways to treat their employees’ financial flu, including financial education, budgeting tools and advice and counseling services; employee purchase programs; employee discount programs; and short-term loans. 

5.    Wellness technology continues to prove its value. 

Wearables and other wellness technology items are re-invigorating the popularity of wellness programs. With data emerging in 2016 revealing improved wellness ROI from fitness tracking devices, even more employers will promote their use. In the last few years, companies began either subsidizing or allowing wearables to be obtained through payroll deduction and this will escalate with costs savings and positive health impact being shown. 

6.    Online education benefits will empower employees. 

Online education benefits will come to the forefront in 2017 both as a method to reduce student debt and bolster career development. Empowering employees with educational benefits can be a valuable addition to the benefits package, especially when it is offered as a voluntary benefit at no cost to their company. Likewise, career development opportunities available to workers, including professional certifications and career diplomas, can be available through a non-traditional voluntary benefit.

Employers are increasingly embracing non-traditional voluntary benefits and I believe 2017 will see much more of this endeavor as employers look for innovative ways to differentiate themselves to current and prospective employees. Let’s see how the year plays out!

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