2017 Employee Benefits Study

Nearly Half of Employed Americans Never Feel Confident about Benefit Choices

In the midst of open enrollment season, study reveals low levels of employee confidence around workplace benefits

November 13, 2017 — RADNOR, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lincoln Financial Group today released a new set of results from its 2017 Employee Benefits Study. The research takes a close look at employees’ perspectives on benefits that are typically offered at the workplace, and provides guidance for employers around communicating and engaging with their workforces.

The research package includes a whitepaper and an infographic piece for employers.

“The benefits landscape has changed,” said Dick Mucci, president of Group Protection at Lincoln Financial Group. “Today, employees are being asked to take on more and more responsibility for their benefits. But the education needed to make those decisions might be missing. Nearly half of employees – 44 percent – say they have never felt confident about their benefits choices.”

The study found the biggest gaps in employee knowledge involved non-medical insurance benefits, like disability, accident, and critical illness insurance:

  • 59 percent of employees know “little” or “nothing” about disability insurance,
  • 69 percent of employees know “little” or “nothing” about accident insurance, and
  • 77 percent of employees know “little” or “nothing” about critical illness insurance

Employers can help build benefit confidence

Just 31 percent of employees feel very “in control” of their financial futures, and just 33 percent feel very “in control” of their health. Without the right protections in place, this can be a dangerous combination financially. Health issues can have major financial implications – particularly if an employee already feels a lack of financial security.

In the same vein, 60 percent of employees are worried about the loss of household income due to an unexpected illness or injury, and 70 percent are worried about healthcare expenses. Sixty percent are simply worried about paying their bills.

Workplace benefits provide supplemental coverage that can help guard against these fears. Employees just need help understanding their benefit options. Lincoln’s research finds that most employees – 87 percent – are more likely to enroll in benefits if they feel familiar with them.

Three key benefit communication tips for employers

Today, only 26 percent of employees say their employer is “very proactive” in helping them understand their benefits. During open enrollment season and beyond, employers can consider these three tips:

1. Communicate simply and consistently
Most employees – about 60 percent – would prefer to receive benefits information year-round. Open enrollment time can be overwhelming, and employers can build knowledge with a steady stream of education throughout the year.
When communicating, use a simple four-point formula to answer the questions employees want answered, as outlined in Lincoln’s whitepaper: (1) How much does it cost? (2) What’s covered? (3) What or how much do I need? (4) What’s the benefit?

2. Take a multi-channel approach, including personalized guidance
Seventy-two percent of employees say they would prefer personal recommendations on benefits, rather than general advice. Today’s benefit technology systems and tools can help with a personal touch. And employees are ready for it: 73 percent are open to trusting an online system to help them choose their benefits.

employees are being asked to take on more and more responsibility for their benefits. But the education needed to make those decisions might be missing

Remember to promote online tools and calculators for employees, which are often available from insurance carriers. These tools can provide an employee with insights specific to their individual situation. Additionally, it’s a “quick win” for the employer and requires little time investment.

If going the traditional route, employers can offer in-person meetings, one-on-one calls or webinars to provide guidance.

3. Focus on the motivations behind benefit decision-making, and create messages based on employees’ needs
Develop a straightforward survey that asks employees to identify the emotions, values and motivators in their lives. This can unlock insights into employees’ hearts and minds, and can help shape communications.
“Employers spend a lot of time, money and energy on crafting benefits packages,” said Mucci, “And the next step is making sure all that work goes to good use by helping employees build the knowledge they need to choose their benefits with confidence.”

About Lincoln Financial’s 2017 Employee Benefits Study
Results are based on a national survey of 2,500 employed adults, conducted in 2017 by Lincoln Financial Group and PSB. Data is weighted to reflect the proportion of U.S. employees by gender, age, region, race and ethnicity based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. The margin of error is ± 2% at the 95% confidence interval.




About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help empower people to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their lifestyle, savings and income goals, as well as to guard against long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $246 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2017. Lincoln is a committed corporate citizen and was named one of the Forbes Best Employers for 2017, is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America, and received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index. Learn more at: www.LincolnFinancial.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. To sign up for email alerts, please visit our Newsroom at http://newsroom.lfg.com.