Your Employees’ Appetite for Voluntary Benefits is on the Rise

The recently released MetLife 10th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends indicates that 41 percent of employers say that voluntary benefits are a significant benefits strategy (up from 32 percent last year), and 49 percent of employees say that because of the economy, they are counting on their employer to help them achieve financial security through a range of employee benefits.

Because of this increased appetite for benefits, employees say they are willing to pay more of the costs themselves. Meanwhile, employee loyalty is at a seven-year low, and more than one-third of employees surveyed say they hope to be working for a new employer in 12 months.

The study also found that employee loyalty continues to maintain a strong link to an employee’s satisfaction with benefits.

Group legal insurance plans offer a solution

A group legal insurance plan is a voluntary benefit that can address these needs. It helps employers by providing a valuable benefit to employees without a direct cost to the employer. Other advantages include improved employee loyalty and productivity, fewer distractions at work and decreased absenteeism, which benefits both employers and employees.

Furthermore, a voluntary legal plan helps HR and benefits professionals address the needs of employees who are still feeling the fallout from the Great Recession and who need help getting back on their feet financially, since many financial matters have legal ramifications (e.g. foreclosure, bankruptcy, debt settlement, etc.).

Legal needs survey can assess the need for assistance

A legal needs survey can help put employers in touch with the legal needs of their employees to determine whether they should add a legal plan as part of their benefits strategy.

Legal matters can touch many areas of an employee’s life. Every day, employees may need assistance with buying and selling houses, refinancing, adopting, handling creditors and debt collectors, reviewing important paperwork, avoiding bankruptcy or foreclosure, fighting a traffic ticket, creating a will or living will, protecting their tenant rights and more. Many employees may fear the cost of legal fees and do not know how to find the right attorney. It is likely that they are bringing stress from their legal matters to work with them, which can reduce productivity.

In a Harris Interactive study, employees who did not hire an attorney were nearly three times as likely to spend five to 10 hours at work dealing with their legal issue than those who hired an attorney through a legal insurance plan.

Chances are, many employees are dealing with some type of personal legal matter and could use affordable assistance. In order to gauge this need, a simple needs analysis can be conducted among employees anonymously. This will provide data to help employers determine whether a pre paid legal services plan is a wise addition to their list of employee benefits. The data obtained through a legal needs test can act as a roadmap to help select a prepaid legal insurance plan tailored to meet employees’ legal needs.

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Maximizing results of a legal insurance survey

Administering a legal needs test can be quick and easy to do. Employees like to provide feedback and input. While the method used to conduct the survey is optional, the goal is to maximize participation and obtain an accurate representation of employees’ needs.

The questionnaire can be distributed internally or emailed to each individual. Providing a deadline will encourage timely responses. Employers may wish to hold a brief meeting or conference call to explain the survey’s importance and purpose. This will also improve the response rate. While it is not necessary to get a 100 percent response to the survey, employers should strive for a representative response rate from all of the organization’s departments.

Make the survey easy to complete while ensuring confidentiality. There are a number of online tools that make survey creation and administration easy, such as Survey Monkey, Zoomerang and Silverpop. The tool used to create and administer the questionnaire and collect the responses is only one part of the equation. It is also important to keep the questionnaire very short and highly relevant.

You can also view a sample legal insurance questionnaire. This survey may be used verbatim or modified to suit an organization’s unique needs.

Employees appreciate the value and convenience of purchasing products through the workplace and desire a wider range of benefits from their employers. A voluntary group legal plan can help employers address the needs of employees while improving productivity and loyalty.

A legal needs assessment can help employers determine employee demand for legal assistance and, once implemented, can provide peace of mind and help employees save time and money.

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