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3 in 4 Employees Say Voluntary Benefits a Workplace Deciding Factor 

Corestream’s “2021 State of Voluntary Benefits” report finds voluntary benefit offerings that address all aspects of employee wellness play a strategic role in talent recruitment, retention and engagement.

TAMPA, Fla. Corestream, the leading platform for connecting employees with personalized voluntary benefits, announced survey findings that show increasing employee demand for voluntary benefits, particularly mental health and financial wellness offerings, to ease burdens brought on by the pandemic. The survey also found that employers are listening, and more are adding multiple types of voluntary benefits to their employee benefit plans as they have seen a positive impact on their retention and recruitment efforts. The survey was conducted with an independent third-party panel of 215 employees and 207 HR professionals from across the nation, in companies of at least 5,000 people.

 

“Millions of employees are looking for reasons to stay in their jobs as they give serious thought to leaving – the Great Resignation is real,” said Neil Vaswani, CEO and co-founder of Corestream. “These mindset changes and life reprioritizations caused by the pandemic are here to stay. The newest data indicates that, compared to just one year ago, employers have a much bigger opportunity to improve employee retention by adding highly demanded voluntary benefits and helping employees understand the value of each of them, as well as how to best use their features. Mental health and financial wellness are clear priorities, as well as life, pet, accident and critical illness insurance.”

 

Voluntary Benefits Are Key to Hiring, Retaining and Engaging Talent 

Dealing with the challenges of the “turnover tsunami” – a term coined by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to describe the increased employee turnover companies are facing as a result of the pandemic – adds pressure to employers as they manage the return to the office and navigate what the hybrid workforce will look like. The survey found that according to HR professionals, voluntary benefits improve retention, employee engagement, and help attract new talent. Employees increasingly recognize that voluntary benefits play a major factor in their decision to work for and/or stay with an employer.

  HR professionals believe that offering more voluntary benefits will retain employees (83%), engage employees (72%), and attract new talent (72%). They also believe that a more robust voluntary benefits offering will save employees money (63%) and increase employee productivity (53%).

  Voluntary benefits are increasingly affecting employees’ decision to work for and/or stay with an employer. Today, three in four employees (76%) said voluntary benefits would impact their employer’s ability to retain them compared to 68% in 2020.

 

Employees Now Demand Financial Wellness and Mental Health Benefits in Addition to Traditional Health Offerings – Employers Are Listening

The COVID-19 pandemic led to some of the most challenging times for employees and their families in the areas of physical, financial and mental health. Amid the pandemic, employees asked for – and continue to demand – voluntary benefits that address all three concerns. Evidence shows that as employees ask for more assistance, employers are also listening and delivering.

  This year, 80% of employees shared that they would take advantage of financial wellness and financial assistance programs offered by their employer compared to 69% in 2020.

  The top three financial wellness benefits employees would sign up for, if offered, are purchasing programs (48%), low-cost loans (45%), and debt refinancing (29%).

  The top three supplemental health benefits employees are interested in signing up for, if offered, are Life Insurance (54%), Accident Insurance (35%) and Critical Illness Insurance (35%).

 

More employers are offering a larger variety of voluntary benefits categories to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce. Eighty-two percent of employers surveyed offer three or more types of voluntary benefits compared to 71% in 2020.

  The top 3 voluntary benefits HR professionals added as new offerings to employees within the last 12 months are mental health (48%), financial wellness or assistance (37%), and life insurance (25%).

 

A Benefits Communication Gap Exists Between HR Professionals and Employees

Results from the survey underscore a communication gap between HR professionals and the employee base they serve. Less than a fourth (22%) of employers shared that they communicate benefits to employees on a regular cadence throughout the year. This helps explain why only 54% of employees agree they have an adequate understanding of the benefits available to them. Additionally, over a third (36%) of HR professionals believe that their employees don’t fully understand the core and voluntary benefits available to them.

  Less than half (49%) of employees agree that there are enough communication materials leading up to open enrollment.

  Twenty-nine percent of HR professionals express that their employees will not be well prepared to make choices during the next open enrollment, and that the HR team will have an influx of questions during open enrollment.

 

The data shows that to bridge this gap, there’s an opportunity to improve benefits communication with employees to prepare for the upcoming open enrollment period. Email is still the preferred method of communication for most employees (67%).

 

“Efforts surrounding workforce retention will be critical to the success of all businesses,” continued Vaswani. “Looking at what’s happening in the job market, plus employees’ demand for more benefits as a top motivator to stay, makes employers stop and look around to realize that their competitors are also enhancing their offerings. The time to act is now – the risk of maintaining the status quo is too high.”

 

About Corestream

Corestream is a leading voluntary benefits technology provider that believes the success of any organization relies on the holistic wellness of its workforce, from physical and mental health to financial wellbeing. Corestream’s revolutionary SaaS platform scales the distribution and adoption of voluntary benefits to become an integral part of protecting and enhancing the employees’ livelihood. By removing barriers, streamlining administration and optimizing the user experience Corestream has become a powerful tool in the arsenal of HR teams, brokers, vendors and employees. For more information, visit Corestream.com.

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