It’s not only an office with a view that woos the best and brightest hires today. Believe it or not, dental benefits rank up high in attracting and retaining them, a number of research studies show.
Two out of three employees report that dental insurance is very or extremely important in deciding whether to accept or turn down a job, according to McKinsey & Company.
Dental benefits now rank higher in importance or as important as disability, life and retiree health insurance, according to surveys conducted by LIMRA,International, Inc., the Harvard Business Review, and others.
“It really does first and foremost, help an employer stand out from the competition because there are a number of employers, still, that are not offering dental coverage,” said Brad Clothier, executive vice president of business development for Delta Dental of Arizona, the largest dental benefits provider in the state. “So it does give you a competitive advantage when you look at full compensation packages.”
Member rolls grow with more offerings for small business
Not too long ago, many smaller businesses could not afford to offer dental benefits for employees. But an industry focus on their needs is putting more people into the dentist’s chair, Clothier said. Even better, it appears to be making employees a lot healthier.
About five years ago, Delta and other insurance companies began to target smaller businesses with more options, including voluntary dental benefits, where employees pay the full price of premiums.
During that time, Arizona-based Delta Dental saw its member rolls swell from 893,000 to approximately 1.3 million today, Clothier said.
“We’ve made a real conscious effort to sell to small businesses with two to 49 employees,” he said. “We’re adding 400 to 500 small businesses a year.
“That was something we really didn’t focus on a few years ago. Everybody was always after the elephant hire, the big companies.”
Voluntary plans rising in popularity
“What we’re finding is smaller employers are trying to remain competitive with larger employers by offering comprehensive benefit packages. Dental has become a part of their offering,” Clothier said.
Today, smaller employers can opt to pay full price for premiums, share the cost of premiums with employees, or have voluntary dental plans.
The voluntary plans are one reason for Delta Dental’s rapid growth in Arizona, Clothier said.
“If employers cannot afford it, they can still give people a choice,” he said. “If you’ve got 25 employees and 12 take the dental plan, those are 12 people that are going to have an overall healthier atmosphere for their employers and families.”
Dental benefits help smaller businesses compete
Attracting and retaining top employees has become critical in a highly competitive marketplace.
Superior talent is 400 percent more productive than the average performer, according to studies cited by McKinsey. In highly complex occupations like software development, high performers are 800 percent more productive.
Being able to offer comprehensive health benefits including dental and visions can help entice these workers, Clothier said.
“It used to be medical just got you by, that’s how you get top performing hires.”
Millions of work and school hours lost to aching teeth
According to the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), millions of work and school hours are lost each year due to unplanned, or emergency, visits to a dentist. On average, over 34 million school hours are lost and over $45 billion is lost in productivity each year due to unplanned dental care, the CDC reports.
Regular dental visits prevent dental and other health problems, including gum and heart disease.
Meanwhile, almost 70 percent of adult consumers with dental benefits reported they see the dentist at least once a year versus 40 percent without, according to the Delta Dental 2018 Adult Oral Health Survey.
And that’s good for businesses, Clothier said.