Benefits and Compensation

Employers Use Voluntary Benefits to Aid Employee Financial Well-Being

While stress does not always stem from work, it often filters into the workplace. Employers today recognize this and see voluntary benefits as a way to ease the impact financial stress has on employee well-being and performance.

The inaugural 2016 Xerox HR Services Financial Wellbeing & Voluntary Benefits Survey found that two-thirds of companies are integrating more voluntary benefits to supplement core benefits packages to promote financial wellbeing.

Voluntary benefits traditionally have been noncore offerings paid either partially or entirely by the employee. Employers are now bringing these voluntary benefits into their core offerings, provided with the employer’s open enrollment options. Today’s most common examples include critical illness, accident, and hospital indemnity.

“Our study shows 78 percent of employers view voluntary benefits as being extremely effective or very effective in supporting employee financial wellbeing, giving them peace of mind and a roadmap to financial control,” said Tom Kelly, principal, Xerox HR Services and co-author of the survey, in a press release.

Survey responses show 55% of companies are either working on implementing financial wellbeing strategies, or plan to within the next 3 years, while 38% have a program already in place. The most popular strategies include financial health assessments, workshops, education materials, and retirement planning calculators.

According to this survey, the top objective for integrating voluntary benefits with core benefits is addressing financial stress that ultimately leads to health issues and higher benefit costs. Other often cited reasons include:

  • Reducing absences
  • Increasing productivity and/or reducing workers’ compensation claims
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • Providing awareness and education about the need for financial protection

Past Xerox research has shown that more than a third of global companies rate their organizational stress levels “high or very high” and 87% see employee performance as the most important reason to address work-related stress and poor mental wellbeing.

“Many employees are becoming increasingly stressed about their finances—whether it’s planning for unexpected expenses or readying for retirement,” said Kelly. “It’s safe to say finances are a major concern for the modern-day workforce and employers can help alleviate the entire gamut of stress by providing a more robust voluntary benefits package that addresses an employee’s overall wellbeing.”

The Xerox HR Services Financial Wellbeing & Voluntary Benefits Survey was completed via an online questionnaire of more than 500 benefit decision-makers from large employers (more than 1,000 employees), fielded between March 11 and March 25, 2016. For more information on this survey, click here.