A Quick and Dirty Guide to Pitching Voluntary Benefits

Margie D. Moore

Voluntary benefits have become the new hot topic among employers looking for ways to recruit and retain. Putting together a good collection of voluntary benefits they can present to job candidates gives them more leverage to compete with the other guy. The same goes for the benefits broker. A broker with better voluntary benefits can compete for new business more effectively than their competitor on the other side of town.

Whether you are an HR benefits manager or a broker looking to grow your book of business, preparing to pitch voluntary benefits to the powers that be isn’t rocket science. Below is a quick and dirty guide for doing so, compliments of BenefitMall. As a brokerage general agency based in Dallas, BenefitMall represents more than a hundred carriers and thousands of brokers around the country.

  1. Establish Some Goals

Every employer should have goals for its benefits package. Those goals should align with the company’s overall HR strategy for recruiting, retention, and making sure compensation remains competitive. So before pitching a voluntary benefits program, benefit managers and brokers need to know what the company’s goals are.

With those goals in mind, the benefit manager or broker can establish goals for the voluntary package. Said goals should supplement whatever it is the current benefits package is designed to accomplish.

  1. Gauge Employee Needs

Voluntary benefits are those benefits that go above and beyond traditional health insurance and retirement plans. In most cases, the lion’s share of the cost of such benefits is born by the employee. Therefore, it makes sense to put together a package that meets employee needs. If they are the ones paying most of the cost, offering them benefits they don’t need or want is counterproductive.

Among the most popular voluntary benefits are:

  • dental and vision plans
  • life insurance
  • long term illness coverage
  • accident and disability insurance
  • student debt repayment assistance
  • health savings accounts.

Non-tangible voluntary benefits are those that do not necessarily have a monetary value attached to them. They consist of things like flexible work schedules and the opportunity to work remotely. They are just as much in play as their tangible counterparts.

  1. Run a Cost Analysis

The third step is to run a cost analysis on every voluntary benefit that could potentially go into the basket. Cost needs to be assessed in three ways, beginning with how much will come out of the employer’s pocket. Employers tend to resist voluntary benefits that add considerably to their current benefits spending.

The next consideration is employee cost. If voluntary benefits cost too much, employees will not utilize them anyway. There is one exception, which leads to the third consideration: tax implications. Some voluntary benefits put both employers and employees in a more favorable tax position. They are easier to sell – even if they come with a higher out-of-pocket cost.

  1. Create a Basket

Once you have looked at all the options and done a proper cost analysis, it’s time to create a basket you feel best represents the employer’s goals and their employees’ needs. The basket should be flexible enough to offer everyone at least something. A good basket of voluntary benefits runs the entire spectrum to reach singles, parents, new college grads, and even older workers nearing retirement.

All that’s left now is to prepare the sales pitch. As a broker or HR benefit manager, you have done all the research. You have crunched all the numbers. You are positive you can make it work in a way that benefits both employer and employee. Can you convince the powers that be? That ball is in your court.

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