Just 67% of Employees are Happy with their Benefits

Jul 30, 2019
| The Extensis Team
Employees Unhappy with their Benefits

The modern workplace has undergone significant changes in recent years, causing employers to alter strategies and plans to keep up with emerging trends.

Employee benefits and perks in particular have grown in importance in this time both for employees and employers alike. Even small businesses have taken steps to enhance their benefit offerings by adding things like voluntary benefits and complimentary benefits.

But each year, new trends and challenges emerge for employers with benefits. MetLife’s 17th Annual U.S. Employee Benefits Trends Study 2019 explored the current state of employee benefits and workplace perks in more detail. Let’s take a closer look at some of the data!

Reshaping the Modern Workplace

The first part of the MetLife report explored how today’s workplace is changing, and what it means for employers and employees.

Data from the survey revealed that stressors are one of the major roadblocks to employee happiness and success both in and out of work. But the results show that personal finance is the number-one source of stress for workers.

MetLife asked survey takers to identify their top 5 sources of financial stress:
  • Being able to afford healthcare in retirement – 72%
  • Outliving my retirement savings – 68%
  • Having money to pay bills if someone loses their job – 67%
  • Having money to cover out-of-pocket medical costs – 67%
  • Ability to rely on Social Security/Medicare in retirement – 66%

It’s worth noting that 3 of the 5 stressors listed above are related to retirement. This correlates with another finding from the survey – 52% of workers expect to postpone retirement because of their financial situation. This number was just 37% in 2015.

Trends in Employee Benefits

Before going into employee benefits data and trends, let’s first look at some of the main perks employers could offer their workers to boost retention:
  • Higher salary – 49%
  • More/better benefits – 29%
  • More flexibility in their work schedule – 27%
  • More flexibility in working location – 27%
  • A promotion – 22%
  • A different role or shift in responsibility – 17%
  • Expansion of responsibility – 15%

Next, the survey explored employee benefits and the trends that are occurring with them. A negative finding is that 67% of employees said they are satisfied with the benefits they receive from their employer, down 4% from last year.

Meanwhile, 73% of employers believe their employees are satisfied with the benefits they offer to their workforce.

The survey also found that employers are taking steps to offer a wider-range of benefits to their employees through things like voluntary benefits (57%, up 7% from last year).

Another interesting finding is that 72% of employees said that having customizable benefits would increase their loyalty to their employer.

MetLife’s report also provided a list of emerging benefits and perks that employees today are most interested in. Here are a few of them:
  • Unlimited PTO – 72%
  • Wellness programs that reward healthy behavior – 69%
  • Phased retirement program – 68%
  • Paid sabbatical program – 66%
  • On-site free or subsidized services – 61%
  • On-site health and medical care – 59%

Last, the report dove deeper into one trending benefit – financial wellness. Around 66% of employees said that their benefits package reduces financial stress. This is important for employers because 33% of workers say that they are less productive at work when they are under financial stress.

It was also shown that 53% of employees say employers have a responsibility for worker financial wellness, up 3% from 2018.

The Role of Happiness at Work

Next, MetLife’s Employee Benefits Trend Study shows just how important employee happiness is to employers.

The survey results compared certain employee traits with whether they are happy or unhappy:
  • Satisfied with their job – 90% of happy employees; 17% of unhappy employees
  • Loyal – 90% of happy employees; 42% of unhappy employees
  • Engaged – 81% of happy employees; 24% of unhappy employees
  • Productive – 89% of happy employees; 45% of unhappy employees
  • Impactful – 79% of happy employees; 20% of unhappy employees
  • Successful – 82% of happy employees; 20% of unhappy employees

Additionally, the report uncovered the top 5 drivers of employee happiness at work:

  • Employee trust in their company’s leadership
  • Employers’ commitment to employees and their success
  • A culture where employees are encouraged to share ideas
  • A workplace where co-workers feel like friends
  • Benefits customized to meet employee needs

Employers, including small businesses, should take note of these employee happiness stats to enhance their own workplace through benefits, perks, and initiatives.

The Importance of Learning and Development Programs

We have written before about the value of training programs for businesses, especially smaller employers. The MetLife report further illustrates how critical L&D is to employees today.

For example, more employees today look for formal training programs when exploring new job opportunities and/or deciding to leave a current employer. 91% of workers said that career development is an important factor when deciding to accept or stay at a job.

And many workers agree that the skills they learn and use at work make them a better person in their personal lives (68%).

Additionally, employers recognize the importance of L&D, naming it their fourth highest concern this year. Yet just 37% of businesses say they actually offer relevant training to their workforce.

When employers do offer formal training, here are some of the types that are made available according to the survey:
  • Trainings to help employees do their job better – 60%
  • Technology innovations – 44%
  • Goal achievement at work – 42%
  • People management and development – 40%
  • Soft skills – 37%
  • Mentoring – 35%
  • Career progression – 33%
  • Financial wellness – 25%

These are just a few examples employers can use when looking to add-to or create their own training programs. Doing so can ultimately help boost recruiting and retention efforts.

Employers Big and Small Must Stay Current with Benefits Trends and Expectations

Reports like this highlight how much employee benefits change from year-to-year, and how critical it is that employers keep up with the latest trends.

Failing to do so could make it harder to retain and recruit workers today in an extremely competitive job market.

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