Protecting Your Brand With Benefits

Workplace Success

Work Benefits photo from ShutterstockWhile building your personal brand, you need to also keep in mind how to protect it. One way you can do this is through the benefits that you receive at work.

You might ask: What do benefits have to do with my brand? The answer is that it’s all about protecting your potential. Benefits, such as a 401(k) plan, health insurance, disability insurance and more, can help keep you on track with your professional and personal goals. For example, after a disabling basketball injury, disability insurance can help get you back on the job – and back on the court. Or, the coverage can help you lean into your career before and after a pregnancy.

The idea of protecting your brand with benefits might be new to you. I have been fortunate to learn a lot about it through my work as a spokesperson for The Hartford’s My Tomorrow campaign. I joined the project after learning how little Millennials understand about their employee benefits. Research from The Hartford found Millennials are less likely than other generations to fully understand them. Only one out of four Millennials say they completely understand disability insurance, and 56 percent overestimate the cost of disability insurance by hundreds of dollars.

To help determine what benefits are right for you, consider who counts on your earning an income. The Hartford’s 2013 Benefits for Tomorrow Study found two-thirds of full-time workers said someone else is relying on their paycheck. In ten percent of cases, it was the employee’s mom or dad.

Even if you are the only person relying on your salary, the insurance that you receive through work can help maintain your independence and ability to pay rent, everyday expenses and bills, such as student loans. Eighty-six percent of Millennials in The Hartford’s survey said they would have to change their lifestyle if they lost income for three to six months.

While specifics vary in each situation, on average, disability insurance costs less than $1 a day and provides about 50 to 60 percent of your income if you can’t work due to an off-the-job injury or illness. You can use the money to pay for regular expenses, such as rent, while you are not working. Or, your disability benefits can help pay for new costs like doctors’ visits or physical therapy. The coverage typically also includes resources to help you get back to work as well.

As the workplace continues to evolve, standard benefits enrollment is also changing. Thanks to tech-friendly Millennials, employees will see more digital tools and educational resources during the benefits enrollment season this year. Look into the resources at your fingertips, like online consumer testimonials so you can see how others use different types of insurance to stay on track with their finances and maintain their personal brands.

Now is the time to think about protecting your potential because fall is typically when many companies hold benefits enrollment. So, take advantage of the resources available – online and in the office – to learn more about what to consider during enrollment. And definitely talk to your HR team. You don’t want to miss enrollment because it may be the only opportunity that you have this year to sign up.

You’ve worked hard to build your brand; don’t forget to protect it.