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What’s Trending in Benefits According to Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

Lexi Wahl
February 11, 2022

The 2022 Ease SMB Benefits and Employee Insights Report Now Available

Did you know? Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with 250 or fewer employees account for 99% of all U.S. businesses and represent 50% of the private workforce (that’s 61 million people). And more than 2.5 million people — or 4% of that entire SMB workforce — make their benefits decisions in Ease.

The Impact of Offering Benefits Workers Want

SMBs are having to balance retention with benefits offerings. A recent PwC survey revealed a staggering 88% of companies are experiencing higher turnover rates than normal, and that employees rank benefits as the second most important reason to start looking for a new job. As turnover in the workplace continues, offering family coverage is one response SMBs can take to acquire, and maintain, talent.

“The Great Resignation has placed an added emphasis on the role benefits play in attracting and retaining talent,” says David Reid, CEO and co-founder of Ease. “Our goal with this report is to provide employers with the data needed to select the benefits that best meet their talent needs. As we continue to grapple with high rates of turnover, we found that the smallest companies — those with less than 50 employees — are losing employees more rapidly than larger SMBs, which have grown in employee size. Small businesses are the backbone of our nation, and to ensure they remain competitive, they need to provide unique voluntary benefits that meet the demands of today’s talent. However, many are reluctant to take on the cost, and that’s a huge problem these companies are struggling with,” Reid says.

Number of Voluntary Benefits Plans Offered Increases Across the Board

Holistic well-being benefits continue to be top-of-mind for employers and employees. Physical, mental, financial, and social health top considerations for employees, while employers use these additional benefits as ways to attract and retain workers. According to a recent MetLife survey, 55% of SMB employees view benefits as more important now than before the pandemic. And 64% say offering a wider array of non-medical benefits would make them more loyal to their employer.

For companies using Ease, the larger the company, the more voluntary benefits plans offered per employee in 2021. All company sizes have increased voluntary benefits plans offered slightly year-over-year, though, with the 1-10 employee segment seeing the highest rate of change from 2018-2021 at 4.3%.

Voluntary benefits offer SMBs a unique way to meet the needs of their employees without adding to their budgets. Must-haves like dental, vision, and life top the list for SMB employees, but “non-traditional” benefits like hospital indemnity, financial wellness, cancer insurance, legal services, and pet insurance have all seen increases in preference since the onset of COVID-19.

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