Hidden in plain sight – Valuable benefits

The Power of Two

Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila are award-winning senior benefits advisers collaborating to use their different perspectives to bring better solutions to employers. Reach out: andrewm@arrowbenefitsgroup.com or 707-992-3789.

Read their past columns.

While well-known perks like health insurance, 401(k) plans, and paid time off tend to grab the most attention, many lesser-known benefits fall off the radar — but would prove highly enticing to your team. These “hidden benefits” provide significant value to employees and contribute to their overall well-being and job satisfaction.

Here are top benefits often overlooked:

1. Short- or long-term disability insurance

People can take their ability to earn an income for granted. Most do not think it will — BUT what happens when income is disrupted by illness or accident?

Disability protects employees' income in the event of an illness or injury that prevents them from working. This coverage ensures they continue to receive a portion of their salary, providing financial security during challenging times. Unfortunately, disability insurance is an undervalued benefit. By offering and explaining disability insurance, employers demonstrate their commitment to supporting employees through unexpected life events.

2. Life insurance

Group life insurance is another undervalued benefit that offers financial protection for employees' loved ones in the event of their passing. Employers often offer basic life insurance coverage as part of a benefits package, with the option to purchase additional coverage at group rates. This benefit furnishes a financial safety net and provides peace of mind to employees, allowing them to focus on their work without worrying about their family’s financial future. Although group life insurance may not be enough, it is a great place to start.

3. Employee assistance programs (EAPs)

Since the pandemic, supporting mental and emotional health has become a highly sought after benefit.

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) offer a range of services to support mental and emotional health and well-being. These confidential programs provide access to counseling, legal and financial advice, and resources for managing stress, anxiety, and other personal challenges. EAPs can improve employee productivity, reduce absenteeism, and foster a more positive work environment.

4. Flexible work arrangements

Flexible schedules, telecommuting options, and compressed work weeks are the new popular benefit. These allow employees to better balance their professional and personal responsibilities, reduce stress and improve work-life balance. By being more flexible employers demonstrate their trust in employees and commitment to accommodating individual needs.

Work-life balance benefits allow people to integrate their personal and professional lives in a manageable way. These benefits, when communicated properly, boost morale and loyalty.

5. Volunteer time off

Many companies — particularly those in the North Bay — recognize the value of corporate social responsibility and encourage employees to engage in volunteer activities. Volunteer time off allows employees to take paid time off to participate in community service or charitable initiatives. This benefit both supports worthy causes and provides employees with a sense of purpose and fulfillment beyond their daily work tasks.

6. Financial wellness

While it may seem too personal to address at a company level, financial stress is a growing concern impacting employee productivity and engagement. Surveys show that up to 92% of employees are stressed about their finances. Many financial institutions offer planning and education for companies to offer their employees at no cost. With a plethora of subjects, financial wellness programs can be tailored to fit most levels of financial experience.

7. Cross-training opportunities

Employees often say they want a raise or promotion. Some want a career or industry change. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to leave your company to achieve their goals. Job cross-training can reengage employees by providing change, collaboration, and building employees skill sets. This also offers employees a better and empathetic understanding of what their colleagues do.

8. Pets

When speaking of benefits and dependents, pets usually aren’t what come to mind. The costs, however, for our four-legged dependents are increasing. Adding benefits such as pet insurance, pet day care, or a pet friendly workplace will build employee morale and culture. Interacting with animals and pets can reduce stress, anxiety and depression while improving overall mood, self-esteem, and productivity.

9. Company culture and the value of perks

Supporting local vendors can be a great reward for employees while building your reputation in the community. Partner with a local coffee shop for discounts or “a cup on us,” purchase Girl Scout Cookies for your staff, seek out local services and businesses that fit into your culture.

Creative perks have more impact than you think. Office games, events, and sports teams create a positive, collaborative atmosphere. Company parties, holiday celebrations, and employee recognition programs promote morale, relationships, and a sense of community. A supportive environment enhances the employee journey.

We believe you can demonstrate your commitment to all aspects of employees' lives through these actions. A holistic employee benefits strategy will impact your bottom line positively and be a win-win for companies and their workforce.

The Power of Two

Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila are award-winning senior benefits advisers collaborating to use their different perspectives to bring better solutions to employers. Reach out: andrewm@arrowbenefitsgroup.com or 707-992-3789.

Read their past columns.

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