Attracting and Retaining Employees

ARAG Client Case Study: GuideOne® Insurance

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Organization name: GuideOne® Insurance

Headquarter Location: West Des Moines, IA

Primary business: Leading national insurer of organizations that focus on social responsibility

Challenge to solve: Create more transparency and understanding regarding the advantages and usage of voluntary benefit offerings, including legal insurance.

Ensuring Employees Understand the Value of a Legal Plan

GuideOne®, a Midwestern insurer of churches, educational institutions, senior living communities and nonprofit organizations, is known for protecting those who strengthen the community. Founded more than 70 years ago, GuideOne also wants to ensure they are protecting those employees who serve the company today — by providing the types of benefits that make the most impact on their lives.

Erin Barfels, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, says, “We’re looking at our overall benefits strategy to see what is working and what’s missing, all in an effort to provide benefits that help employees take care of themselves, their families and their financial well-being and futures. This approach includes a focus on holistic wellness and complementary components, like a legal insurance plan.”

Barfels states the story regarding benefits needs to be shared with employees — and should include more than just information about and advantages of the core benefits. “It’s not just about our base benefits,” Barfels says. “We have a lot of great perks you typically don’t consider as part of your overall compensation package, like an in-house print shop, a fully subsidized on-site cafeteria and beautiful grounds that employees can enjoy. We also want employees to notice our voluntary benefits as valuable programs they have access to.”

Jane Foxen, Benefits Manager, notes, “The ARAG® legal insurance plan is a good example of a great voluntary benefit I think employees don’t fully understand — and one that we could do a better job in promoting.” Barfels adds, “I think we need to enhance our communication strategy regarding the legal plan to help promote all the different ways employees can use it, which I think will assist with our overall holistic approach to benefits. We’re open to providing ongoing communication as well as lunch and learns to help educate members and eligible employees alike about the value of the plan.”

Foxen cites the variety of benefits employees can choose from within the plan as well as the seamlessness of the plan administration as vital elements that have contributed to the overall success of the ARAG legal plan, which has been in place nearly 30 years. And with a steady member participation rate of approximately 16 percent, coupled with the fact that 63 percent of members have been in the plan three or more years, Barfels says, “It’s a good indication that we’ve had a lot of people here a long time — and they know it’s a reliable benefit. This is a benefit that matters and one that every person should have access to. I’ve had it for over 15 years and wouldn’t dream of not having it! ARAG Legal is a benefit that matters and one that all of our employees should consider having. I’ve been a plan member for more than 15 years — I wouldn’t dream of not having it.”

The renewed focus on benefits is part of a company-wide cultural transformation which, according to Barfels, is in its beginning stages but making strides in a positive, proactive direction. “We’ve recognized that in light of competitive pressure and a constantly challenging bottom line we need to do things differently,” says Barfels. “To be more successful, we need to be more progressive and change inside the company first — which also means a great opportunity for our employee benefits to evolve. When it comes to the integral role employee benefits play as part of the company’s overall transformation, Barfels notes, “Externally, as we look at our client base, we need to ask ourselves, ‘How can we be more to more people?’ That approach also applies to our internal transformation as we consider our employees’ various benefit needs and how to best meet them. Our legal plan is one of those flexible benefits that helps us do that.”

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