Employee benefits are near the top of the list when it comes to recruiting and retaining good employees, as well as keeping those employees loyal and satisfied with the company they are working for.

However, most business owners find that paying for and maintaining a comprehensive benefits portfolio a daunting task. But with the help of a trusted advisor, these plans can pay dividends when it comes to finding and hiring the right people for your business and keeping those people for the long term.

According to MetLife’s 11th Annual Study of Employee Benefit Trends, 47 percent of employees surveyed cited some form of employer-paid medical insurance as a “very important” reason for joining a company, with 51 percent citing life, dental and disability insurance as a very important reason. 57 percent of employees cite medical as an important reason to stay at a company, with 54 percent citing life, dental and disability as a reason to stay.

But traditional products like those are not the only benefits employees are looking for. From the same study, 77 percent of employees value benefits that are geared to their individual circumstances and voluntary benefits can satisfy this desire for customization. Voluntary benefits can range from supplemental life and disability insurance, payroll deducted auto and home, to the increasingly popular critical illness and pet insurance.

Concerns about uncertainty in the economy and federal legislation of health care are having a direct, negative impact to employee morale and thus employee productivity can suffer. The MetLife study showed that two-thirds of employees are concerned about having access to affordable health insurance as well as having enough money to cover increasing out-of-pocket medical costs.

Companies that have a benefits education strategy coupled with a voluntary benefits offering, are highlighting the company’s investment to their employees. At the same time, they are protecting their business by securing their employees’ financial security, resulting in a more loyal and productive workforce.

Talented employees are at a premium and once on board, employers want to make sure they stay there. With the right mix of benefit choice, value and communication, employers will be well on their way to a talented and productive workforce.