A stratighforward correlation belies a clear desire for choice
May 5,, 2015 – MetLife’s 13th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, released today, reveals a correlation between the number of benefits offered by employers and the likelihood that an employee would recommend their employer as a great place to work.
At companies where employees are offered no benefits, only 46% of employees would recommend their employers as great places to work. This number climbs to 53% at companies where employees are offered between one and five benefits, but at companies where employees are offered 11 or more benefits, this number jumps to 66%, reinforcing employees’ desire for choice.
In fact, nearly 40% of employees say having a wide selection of benefits would make them feel more loyal to their employer. These key insights may prove valuable as employers face a shifting macroeconomic landscape in which unemployment rates are the lowest since 2008, but employees feel less secure both about their jobs and their current financial situation. A full report examining these findings is available by visiting BenefitTrends.MetLife.com.
Opportunity to tailor benefits to their specific needs
“Throughout the study, the positive impact of the number of benefits an employer offered was clear, likely because the greater number of options provides employees with the opportunity to tailor benefits to their specific needs,” says Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits, at MetLife.
“Offering a comprehensive suite of benefits that goes beyond standard benefits, such as medical, dental and vision, to include voluntary benefits like critical illness, accident, auto and home, and legal services, can drive both loyalty and engagement without adding cost for the employer.” Cost is no longer king In contrast to the 2013 findings, when controlling costs ranked number one, this year’s study found employers ranked employee benefits objectives directly pertaining to employee factors such as retention as extremely important.
In fact, 41% of employers ranked retention as their top employee benefits objective, potentially indicating agrowing war for talent. This is not surprising given the lowest unemployment rates since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. Yet, despite low unemployment rates, concerns about job security have increased since 2013, with the number of employees reporting that they are extremely concerned about job security jumping from 42% to 51%.
Feeling less financially secure
This coincides with a decreasing sense of financial security, even as the economy improves, with only about one-third (34%) of employees having a savings cushion of about three months’ salary; down from 46% in 2013.
According to the study, 49% of employees experiencing financial stress are looking to their employers for help in achieving financial security through benefits. Using education and communication to empower Offering the benefits is not enough; communicating about the significant role benefits can play in an employee’s overall well-being is equally important. Key to this is educating employees about the specific benefits they purchase and the protections those benefits offer.
According to the study, while employees are taking on more responsibility for their benefit decisions, they are not always confident in their choices or in their understanding of their benefit options. In fact, less than half, 45%, of employees strongly agree their companies’ benefit communications helped them to understand how they would pay for specific services and effectively educated them on their benefit options.
This is especially critical as new medical plans are put into place as a result of health care reform and as employees are being called on to make more complex benefit decisions. “Ensuring that employees fully understand their benefits is becoming essential as many benefit decisions are being shifted from the employer to the employee,” states Katz.
“Communicating during open enrollment season may not be enough. Incorporating personalized benefit messages reflecting employee life stages and events throughout the year, and offering educational tools and channels preferred by employees, can help make sure workers receive the benefits information they need to make better purchasing decisions. This is especially important as employers face a diverse, multigenerational workforce with varying needs.” To learn more about the link between the number of benefits offered and employee satisfaction, as well as the need for improved benefits communication, access MetLife’s 13th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study by visiting BenefitTrends.MetLife.com. Research Methodology MetLife’s 13th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study was conducted during November of 2014 through January 2015 and consisted of three distinct studies fielded by ORC International, one of the world’s largest research companies. The employer survey comprised 2,595 interviews with benefits decision makers at companies with staff sizes of at least two employees. The employees survey comprised 2,463 interviews with full-time employees ages 21 and over, at companies with at least two employees. The broker survey comprised 699 interviews with brokers and consultants who sell employee benefits to companies of all sizes. About ORC InternationalORC 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. About MetLife 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.