Did you know that most employees spend only 20 minutes during the annual enrollment period looking at and signing up for benefits? And, despite their speedy decision-making, more than a third of them want more help understanding their benefit options?
Employers are constantly looking for ways to better their benefits programs, particularly balancing cost management with employee satisfaction. In order to make these benefits decisions, it is important for employers to understand how employees think about their benefits, and to know what other employers plan to do about their benefits in the near future.
MetLife’s 12th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends addresses this important topic. The 2014 survey offers many valuable insights; highlights are summarized below.
Record Employee Satisfaction
One of the most interesting findings of the survey concerns employee satisfaction. More employees report they are very satisfied with the benefits they receive at work than at any time since the survey began.
The number of employees who responded that they are very satisfied with their benefits increased from 38 percent in 2012 to 50 percent in 2013.
The percentage of employees who would recommend their company as a great place to work has increased from 42 percent to 52 percent in the past 12 months.
Increased satisfaction with benefits may partially be tied to sluggishness in the economy. Employees view benefits as a significant perk during a time when many employers are cutting benefits, and many workers are only employed on a part-time basis with little or no access to full-time benefits.
An Evolving Environment
Interestingly, at the same time employees are reporting high levels of satisfaction, they are also willing to accept a greater share of the burden when it comes to paying for benefits.
The study shows that employees appear ready to embrace their new benefits responsibilities. As employers struggle to adjust to increased costs due to the Affordable Care Act, employees do not expect to turn back the clock to the days when many employers paid most, or all, of their benefits costs. Instead, they seem to be hoping employers choose to continue to provide health benefits rather than drop coverage altogether.
However, more than ever, employees are looking for advice from their employers on how to best utilize their benefits options. More than half (53 percent) agree—and 37 percent strongly agree—that they need more help understanding how their benefits work and how those benefits help meet their needs. This is especially the case with younger workers. Additionally, 42 percent of employees surveyed are not confident that they use their benefits effectively now.