58 Percent of Employees Want Customized Benefit Options

Jul 25, 2017
| Michael Altiero
Employees Want Customized Benefits

Employee benefits and perks are growing in importance for both workers and employers. Employees expect companies to offer a wide range of perks in addition to traditional benefit options. The perks they do or don’t receive can have big impacts on their career decisions.

Employers, on the other hand, know that offering better benefits with more options leads to happier employees. When employees are happy, not only does productivity increase, but so does retention. In addition, offering great benefits is a major competitive advantage when trying to recruit top talent.

With the U.S. workforce becoming more diverse each year, expectations for both employees and employers are changing. According to MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, 58% of employees want customized benefits options from their employers. And that’s just the tipping point for today’s employee.

How can employers meet the expectations of today’s applicants and current employees? Metlife’s study provides five ways for employers to better align their benefits experience with what employees want.

1) A Broader Definition of Benefits

When many people think of benefits, they immediately think of Health Insurance and 401(k) plans. But the benefit packages that employers offer today can include many additional perks. These can include things like financial assistance programs, health and wellbeing programs, and Employee Assistance Programs, just to name a few. In fact, 49% of employees want wellbeing programs that reward their healthy behavior. However, only 8% of employers offer some form of wellbeing program. These represent just a few opportunities where employers can gain a competitive advantage by incorporating other perks into their benefit packages.

2) More Tailored Benefits

In 2017, employees want and expect more options when it comes to their benefits. While this may sound challenging (and costly) to employers, the benefits are worth the efforts. MetLife found that 72% of employees agree that the ability to customize benefits increases loyalty with their employer. With retention being one of the top concerts for employers, offering a more customizable benefit package is a great way to ensure employee happiness and save on costs of employees leaving the company.

3) More Accessible Benefits Expertise

One of the bigger challenges employees face with their benefits is the lack of expert guidance that is available when making selections. This is especially true for financial perks such as 401(k)’s and other savings programs. 84% of employees find at least one of the following sources helpful in understanding their benefits:
  • In-person consultations with enrollment representatives (both one-on-one and in groups)
  • One-on-one phone consultations with enrollment representatives
  • Financial advisors
  • Doctor/medical professionals

4) A Clear Explanation of Benefits

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that clear communication is an essential step to helping employees fully understand their benefits. Most employers think their benefit communications are clear and helpful, but this isn’t exactly the case:
  • 73% of employers believe their benefits communications are easy to understand, but only 60% of employees feel the same way. 
  • 74% of employers believe their benefits communications effectively educate their employees so that they can select options that best meet their needs, but only 60% of employees agree.
  • 76% of employers think their communications help employees understand how much they will pay for specific services, but only 63% of employees think the same.

To help narrow the gaps here, employers need to talk with their workforce and implement ways to better communicate the benefits options available. This will help employees make more informed decisions, which will lead to happier and more productive workers.

5) A Simplified Enrollment and Engagement Experience

Many companies fall into the trap of offering a good benefits package, but then having a complex enrollment process. This can cause a great deal of confusion, anxiety and stress for employees. MetLife’s study found that 42% of employees feel stressed by the process of enrolling in their company’s benefits plan. Another 51% worry that their coverage may not be enough. Stress and anxiety can negatively impact an employee’s productivity and loyalty to a company. Making benefits enrollment as easy and simple as possible should be the goal of every business.

Strive to Have a Complete Benefits Experience

Improving these five areas of the benefits experience can have many positive impacts for both employees and their employers. Employees who are happy and productive are less likely to leave, which in turn saves companies the cost of having to refill positions. It will also make hiring the best talent that much easier. At the end of the day, a complete benefits experience is a win for everyone.

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