Content Sponsored by Aflac

In an age of 4 percent unemployment and at a time when competition for highly skilled workers has never been fiercer, businesses need to provide benefits that go well beyond a healthy paycheck to compete for top talent. Your company must be on top of its game--to attract the best people--and that means offering a compelling compensation and benefits package.

"It's important for businesses to show candidates and employees that you are concerned for their financial, physical and mental health, and work-life balance. Remember, many people base decisions on what is best for their families. That's why it's important to build a culture that includes taking care of the needs of the employee and their dependents," says Brenda Mullins, vice president of human resources and chief people officer at Aflac.

Aside from a competitive paycheck, what should go into an employee benefits package? Access to health care coverage is a good start, but not the only consideration.

"Attracting top talent comes down to meeting the needs of the candidates you are trying to attract. Today, people want choices. They are looking for benefits options and customization that meets their unique lifestyle. Benefits packages should include as many of the right benefits as your organization can afford," suggests Matthew Owenby, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Aflac.

Here are seven essential components of a benefits package that will help attract and retain the best people in today's landscape.

Health Insurance

Health insurance, especially major medical coverage, is the cornerstone of a good benefits package. People expect it. It's a major factor that candidates consider when reviewing job offers.

A good health insurance policy is designed to cover the bulk of doctor visits, hospital stays, and associated treatment such as surgeries, tests, and lab fees. Prescription coverage is also desirable, as prescribed medication can be costly.

Supplemental Insurance

A base health insurance plan doesn't cover every medical or life issue that an employee may experience and may have coverage limits. Supplemental policies help with leftover expenses, including copayments and deductibles. For example, if an employee is in an accident, a health insurance plan may only cover 60 to 70 percent of treatment and hospital costs. Supplemental accident coverage could help pay the rest.

The most familiar supplemental insurance options include vision and dental, short-term disability, accident and life insurance. However, other types of supplemental coverage can help protect financial security. Examples include cancer and critical illness policies --choices Aflac has been at the forefront of developing.

"Supplemental insurance is essential in helping build an enhanced benefits package. With supplemental coverage, employees can know they are adequately protected in case of a covered accident or emergency," Owenby says.

Supplemental insurance is usually voluntary, meaning the employee can choose which types of coverage they want and contribute to the cost through payroll deduction. This lowers costs for employers. It also puts employees in control of customizing their benefits package to suit their needs.

401(k) Plan

A 401(k) retirement plan offers employees a tax-deferred way to save for retirement. The employer may match employee contributions up to a certain percentage-- say, 50 to 100 percent of contributions up to 6 percent of the worker's salary.

A 401(k) plan shows candidates and employees that you are willing to invest in their future and also has financial advantages for your company. Some plans are affordable even for smaller companies. Matched contributions and administrative costs in qualified plans are tax-deductible for the employer.

Wellness Programs

Wellness programs contribute to employees' health and longevity and can reduce absenteeism and promote a more positive work environment. Wellness programs may even help improve the company's bottom line when it comes to insurance premiums and productivity. "It's important to care for the whole person, both physically and mentally," Mullins says.

Elements of a wellness program might include employee and family counseling, virtual doctor visits, free health screenings, an on-site fitness center, heath-related lunch-and-learn sessions, and smoking cessation classes, among others. Aflac offers these to its own employees as part of its corporate wellness program, Owenby points out, and the benefits are significant for both employer and employee because they may prevent more serious health issues.

Generous Parental Leave

One of the most popular perks sought by candidates today is parental leave. Top candidates today are looking for maternity and paternity leave when a new baby arrives or is adopted. And they want the time off to be paid.

Companies also benefit from offering parental leave; it's just good business. It's expensive to replace experienced employees who otherwise might resign to spend more time with a new child. Companies reduce hiring churn expenses and keep valuable know-how in house, benefitting the bottom line.

A generous paid parental leave policy also can differentiate your brand in workers' eyes. "For example, at Aflac we want employees who walk through the doors to be fully engaged, to understand that while their life and obligations outside of work may change, our culture won't," Mullins says. "We want to offer benefits that equip employees to bring the best version of themselves to the office."

Student Loan Relief

Millions of millennials graduated with student loan debt and are now literally paying the price. Repayment is a major concern on the minds of many candidates who have student loan debt, which may be a drain on their finances. According to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors' May 2019 report, 20 percent of graduates are behind on their student loan payments.

It's no surprise that savvy employers have started offering student loan relief as a perk. The employer helps employees make student loan payments and pay off loans faster. It's a benefit that offers dollars-and-cents relief from what can be a crushing obligation.

Tuition and Training Reimbursement

Today, teaching employee "upskilling" is critical for both productivity and employee retention. With a tuition reimbursement program or onsite training courses, you can encourage employees to sharpen their skills, be more effective, and advance in their careers.

"Aflac has made - and will continue to make - tremendous investments in 'upskilling' our employees to ensure they have the right skills to work alongside evolving technology and continue to help our business move forward," Mullins adds.

Obviously, investing in growing a skilled brain trust can help your company grow and achieve its goals.

Creating the best benefits package

A top-tier benefits package is well-rounded and addresses the financial, mental, and physical needs of your team. Creating such a package may be more affordable and achievable than you realize. To get started, seek out the advice of an insurance agent or broker. Owenby says, "Professional insurance agents, like those who are licensed to sell Aflac insurance policies, are trained in health care and can help businesses build better, more affordable packages that help retain current employees and attract new hires. Insurance agents can help with goal-setting and business management, ensuring employee satisfaction and bottom-line growth," he adds.


Coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. Policies may not be available in all states.

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Published on: Dec 17, 2019