Millennials Seek Greater Benefits Education
New York, April 7, 2016 – MetLife’s 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, released today, reveals employee loyalty is on the rise, with 45 percent of employees saying they plan to work for their current employer 12 months from now, compared with 41 percent last year.
Loyalty is strong among all generations with 57 percent of baby boomers and 53 percent of both Generation X and millennials saying they are committed to their current employer’s goals. This may be due to increasing financial concern: just 46 percent of all employees expect their personal financial situation to get better in the next year, compared to over half (52 percent) in 2014.
Employees, particularly millennials, are looking to their employers for help when it comes to addressing financial matters. Just under half of millennials (44 percent) say they want their employer to help them solve their financial concerns, a response more than double that of boomers (20 percent). Similarly, three-fourths (75 percent) of millennials say their employers have a responsibility for the financial well-being of their employees.
Employees have grown increasingly interested in workplace benefits as a means of obtaining financial support. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of employees say they’re looking to their employer for more help in achieving financial security through employee benefits, compared to 49 percent in 2011.
“Today, millennials represent the largest share of the American workforce, and by the year 2020 nearly half of workers will be millennials. While it’s common knowledge that millennials are often more motivated by meaningful work than the size of their paycheck, our study shows that millennials – and all employees – are looking to the workplace for guidance and support to achieve financial security,” said Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits, at MetLife. “With only 44 percent of employees feeling in control of their finances, employers today have a unique opportunity to drive loyalty and retention by empowering employees to make informed benefits decisions.”
Benefits Education Yields Results
Employers have a significant opportunity to educate employees on traditional and voluntary benefits and how they can be used to address financial concerns. There’s a real need for this education, especially among younger workers. The study revealed that among millennials, confusion reigns: only 52 percent had an understanding of life insurance, compared to 69 percent of boomers; similarly, only 38 percent of millennials had an understanding of long term disability insurance, compared to 57 percent of boomers.
Employees are also unclear as to the practical and financial value of voluntary benefits, with only 47 percent of employees agreeing that non-medical benefits can help them limit their out-of-pocket medical expenses. For employees without a savings cushion of three months – including approximately 65 percent of millennials – these expenses could lead to a financial drain.
For employers, this is an opportunity to evolve into a more consultative role and provide meaningful education and training for employees, while also engendering loyalty.
Optimal Enrollment Conditions are Key for Benefits Confidence
To alleviate confusion about benefits, it’s critical that employers create optimal enrollment conditions, enabling their employees to make informed decisions about which benefits best suit their specific needs. This includes providing employees with a variety of robust decision-support resources and personalized offerings to help them make educated benefits decisions for their individual situations.
This is especially important for millennials: compared to their older counterparts, younger employees feel the least confident in their benefits decisions. To address this, the study found that strong communication is a key driver of employee confidence during benefits selection, with the most effective resources being one-on-one consultation. Despite popular perception that younger adults prefer technology over one-on-one interaction, the study found that 68 percent of millennials value one-on-one consultations with a non-sales benefits expert, compared to 62 percent of Gen X and 57 percent of boomers. Employers looking to harness the power of one-on-one consultations can turn to outside experts such as brokers, consultants and enrollment communications firms.
“Helping employees to understand the value of their benefits through engaging communications is critical for both the employee and the workplace,” said Katz. “If employees fully understand their benefits options, they’ll make better purchasing decisions and in turn, decrease their financial stress.”
MetLife’s 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study was conducted during November 2015 through January 2016, and consisted of three distinct studies fielded by ORC, one of the world’s largest research companies. The employer survey comprised 2,508 interviews with benefits decision makers at companies with at least two employees. The employee survey comprised 2,612 interviews with full-time employees ages 21 and over, at companies with at least two employees.
About ORC International
ORC International is a leader in the art of business intelligence. Their teams are passionate about discovering what engages people around the world. By combining quality data, smart synthesis and best in class digital platforms, ORC delivers insight that powers the growth and drives the future of their clients’ businesses. To learn more about ORC International, visit their website, www.orcinternational.com.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.