Benefits can help K-12 employees address their stressors, particularly around personal finances, retirement, and their family’s health. In addition, the benefits offered help employees feel appreciated and valued. By implementing holistic benefits strategies that include a wide array of options for employees to choose from, public school systems are able to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce that includes teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, and crossing guards.
Historically, public school systems have offered a range of traditional benefits options, including medical, dental, and retirement choices. Supplemental or voluntary benefits, such as accident insurance, critical illness insurance, or legal services plans, can be highly valued options that school systems can add to their offering without increasing their budgets. These same benefits are designed to provide financial relief for participating employees as a valued supplement to other benefits, such as health insurance.
Today, fewer than half of K-12 school system employees (40%) say their employers offer a comprehensive benefits program as a way to make them feel valued and appreciated. Having access to a wider array of non-traditional, non-medical benefits appeals to employees, with 60 percent saying they would be interested even if they have to cover some of the costs themselves. At the same time, emerging benefits appeal to K-12 employees, especially millennials and Gen Z-ers. Seventy percent are interested in wellness programs that reward healthy behavior and 60 percent are interested in paid sabbatical programs after completing a certain length of time with an employer.
However, it’s not just about more benefits. To optimize the impact on their top benefits objectives of attracting and retaining talent, public school systems need to undertake a strategic expansion of benefits combined with a holistic approach to communicating how the benefits work together.
Holistic Benefits: An Example
Medical insurance comes with out-of-pocket costs. Offering supplemental benefits and educating employees about how the different coverages work together increases understanding and helps to reduce financial stress.
Short and Long-Term Disability insurance
Provide employees with a benefit to help replace their paychecks if they’re unable to work due to a serious illness or injury.
Accident, Critical Illness, and Hospital Indemnity
Benefits deliver lump-sum payments for a variety of events that are designed to help employees manage unexpected costs. These are paid no matter what’s covered by other benefits.