Aflac study shows benefits remain a key tool for retention and recruitment

In spite of major changes in the health care landscape, small-business owners looking to recruit and retain top employees still need to pay close attention to their benefits offerings. According to the 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report for Small Businesses released by Aflac, a majority of workers employed in small businesses are willing to consider a job with slightly lower pay but better benefits, while half of potential job-changers say improving their benefits package could keep them right where they are.

“The Affordable Care Act has enabled more Americans to obtain health care benefits, but it has not reduced the overall costs or the health care concerns of the majority of employees,” said Aflac Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer Matthew Owenby. “Offering robust benefits, including major medical and voluntary insurance, remains an important factor for small businesses to keep employees happy while increasing growth opportunities.”

Employees confirm role of benefits in job decisions. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July 2015 unemployment rate at 5.3 percent, small businesses realize the battle for talent is getting tougher. As a positive sign of their hiring ambitions, the Aflac study found more than one-third (34 percent) of decision-makers expect to hire full-time employees, while 28 percent believe they will hire part-time employees in the next 12 months. Continuing to offer benefits to recruit and retain employees is important to meeting workers’ preference for strong benefits packages. According to the study:

• Almost 6 in 10 (59 percent) workers at small companies are at least somewhat likely to accept a job with slightly lower pay but better benefits;
• Nearly half (49 percent) of small-business employees who at least somewhat agree they’ll be looking for jobs in the next year also say improving their benefits package is one thing their employers could do to keep them in their jobs; and
• Almost 9 in 10 (87 percent) employees at least somewhat agree they consider voluntary insurance to be part of a comprehensive benefits program.

Small-business owners appear to be listening. While their top business objective in 2015 continues to be controlling costs, the 2015 Aflac study found that the percentage of small-business employers offering voluntary insurance to employees compared to 2014 has increased from 18 to 22 percent, a move that may be leading to more satisfied employees.

Compared to those not offered voluntary benefits at work, small-business employees enrolled in voluntary benefits are more likely to be very or extremely satisfied with their jobs and their overall benefits packages as well as are more likely to believe the benefits package offered by their employer meets their family needs well:

• 74 percent are very or extremely satisfied with their jobs (17 percent more than those not offered voluntary benefits by their employer).
• 71 percent are very or extremely satisfied with the benefits offered by their employers (48 percent more than those not offered voluntary benefits at work).
• 73 percent report the benefits package offered meets their current family needs very or extremely well (40 percent more than those not offered voluntary benefits on the job).

“As competition for top employees heats up, employers know they need to ante up when it comes to compensation packages. It seems that health care benefits, both major medical and voluntary benefits, are prime areas to upgrade in order to lure and hold onto top talent,” Owenby said.


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