Although the term “win-win scenario” has become cliché, there are truly very few of them in business. Especially ones that can positively impact your organization across a variety of different fronts. Identity theft protection is one of them.

So if your company hasn’t yet taken advantage of offering identity theft protection as an employee benefit, you could be missing out on one of those rare opportunities.

Whether you're a C-suite executive yourself or an HR professional looking to share this timely opportunity with your team, this article will show why identity theft protection is a must-have in your benefits portfolio.

Impact of identity theft on your business

First, and perhaps most importantly, identity theft protection is no longer a case of simply weighing costs and returns. One U.S. court recently set a precedent that protecting employees’ data is an obligation of the employer. Federal regulations are expected to follow soon, and some international laws are already there. Identity theft protection is one tool that helps protect your company against this new legal risk.

On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced a major security breach that affected 143 million Americans. That’s roughly 80% of the working adult population. And it was just one breach compared to the many you’ve probably read about since then.

For employers, the costs typically associated with identity theft involve lost productivity from their employees. Each incident represents an average:

  • 100–200 hours to remedy

  • 6 months to finalize their claims after all paperwork is completed

  • $1500 out-of-pocket expenses (which doesn’t include any funds actually stolen)

During this time, employees are distracted and experiencing high levels of stress. These are primary symptoms of low engagement and can cause, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace:

  • 70% more employee safety incidents

  • 25-59% higher turnover

  • 21% lower profitability

  • 17% lower productivity

Each of these outcomes results in their own additional costs to your bottom line.

Employees want identity theft protection, too

It’s not just businesses that want to be protected, of course.

People across the U.S. are feeling the impacts of identity theft. Not only is it hitting their wallets, but perceptions of the problem are also running extremely high. One survey conducted in the U.S. found that criminal hacking was ranked as the number one threat to American health, safety and prosperity. And the FTC reports that identity theft has remained one of the top three consumer complaints for the last five straight years.

With recognition so high, it’s no surprise that employees want protection. BenefitsPRO sees identity theft protection as one of three “cornerstone” benefits continuing to trend up in 2019.

Don’t neglect the positive impacts of identity theft protection, either. Reducing such a major stressor in your workplace could have positive effects on overall health and engagement levels. It could even improve credit ratings throughout your organization, leading to better standards of living and happier, more productive employees.

Identity theft protection improves security

Providing an identity theft protection benefit for your employees can improve your overall corporate security, too. Here are several ways the best benefits programs accomplish this:

  1. Providing ongoing education and updates for the latest identity theft tactics and risks

  2. Protecting your employees’ social media accounts

  3. Protecting corporate credit cards, usernames, and passwords

  4. Monitoring dark web activity for any trace of your company or employee data

Identity theft protection reduces costs

Earlier, we discussed how identity protection benefits help attract and retain employees. This could have a significant impact on your recruiting and training budgets. Whether that translates into reduced costs or more specialized training opportunities to improve your workforce is up to you.

We also talked about how an identity theft benefit program can reduce costs associated with lost productivity and safety incidents.

Yet another potential cost reduction is from litigation. Offering an identity theft protection benefit could reduce your legal exposure from employees when a breach occurs, as well as partners and clients affected by compromised accounts. It can even save you from reputational damage, which could impact your bottom line in a variety of ways.

The final imperative: peace of mind

For all the reasons given here, you can see why an employee identity protection benefit should be an imperative for you and your C-suite team. Hiring and retaining top employees, improving their health, productivity, and quality of life… all while reducing legal liabilities, costs, and security risks?

The highest levels of any company should be on board with that. As this Bloomberg report suggests, identity protection could provide employers and employees with the greatest benefit of all — peace of mind.