Lack of information, misinformation or simply the wrong assumptions by workers can all add up to poor decision-making when it comes to employee benefits. An Employee Benefit News slideshow published earlier this year outlined the scary things that can happen when employees don’t understand the value of employee benefits. Here’s their list of scary things employees do with their benefits:
- Get spooked by wellness programs.
Research shows employees who skip out on these programs are often afraid of what’s involved or don’t think they can meet their goals.
- Not collecting the 401(k) treat.
Not participating in the company’s 401(k) program leaves free money on the table. More than 25% of employees who have access to a matching program aren’t taking advantage of that option.
- Staying in the dark on flexible spending accounts.
Enrolling in a FSA which allows use of pre-tax dollars can reduce health care and child care expenses by 20-40%.
- Overlooking short-term disability (STD) benefits.
To help employees better understand STD benefits employers should provide plan details at the interviewing stage, new hire training and any time policies change. STD is great insurance for any injury or illness, and even maternity leave.
- Sleepwalking through decisions.
Employees often keep the same elections every year without revisiting personal circumstances and available options.
- Haunted by fear of planning.
Not only do many employees think an accident or disability won’t happen to them, they also underestimate how much it might cost them financially if it does occur. Employers can help remove the fright factor through education.
- Skip their Transylvania trips by not taking PTO.
Taking time off fosters rest and relaxation which means employees come back more focused, creative and productive. Yet 34% of employees take less than half of their paid time off each year.
- Making benefit decisions based purely on price.
This frightening strategy often leads to under-insuring or over-insuring themselves and their family.
- Neglecting disability benefits.
Employees are more likely to have life than disability insurance. Companies should educate their employees on the scary statistics of becoming disabled.
- Cashing out a 401(k).
When they ended employment, 43% of employees took a cash contribution. They could continue building their nest eggs by consolidating old balances into their current plan.
- Not sinking their teeth into the value of medical and dental plans offered.
Some employees don’t maximize the value offered by their medical and dental plans by not taking advantage of zero-based preventative visits and vaccinations.