For roughly nine out of every ten employers, the main objectives of their benefits offerings are attracting and retaining talent and improving workplace engagement, according to a recent Thomsons Online Benefits survey. That is not too surprising considering how much employees appear to value workplace-provided benefits. Just look at the poll conducted earlier this year by Willis Towers Watson, which found that 59 percent of Millennials and 66 percent of Baby Boomers would be willing to “trade a lower paycheck for a more secure retirement benefit,” up from 42 percent and 50 percent, respectively, in the 2009 survey.
Further, we looked at two studies yesterday that highlighted how planning and a focus on the future can together help Americans achieve financial wellness. These two reports also provided evidence of the important role that employer-provided benefits play in overall financial well-being. For example, the Lincoln Financial Group survey found that more than half (57 percent) of working adults currently enrolled in more than three nonmedical employer-provided benefits said they believe they are on the right track for achieving financial wellness. These benefits participants were also more likely to say that they feel “very secure in their lives,” “very confident in covering unexpected expenses,” and “very satisfied with their jobs.”
However, nearly half (48 percent) of employee respondents described the information they receive regarding their benefits offerings as “confusing,” and only 21 percent said that their employer is “very proactive” in helping workers understand the available benefits. Similarly, the TIAA survey mentioned yesterday found that a fifth of current retirees believe they could have done a better job of taking advantage of the employer-provided benefit options that were available to them, perhaps signaling that there is an opportunity for businesses to boost awareness of the resources offered to their workers. In fact, the Lincoln Financial Group poll found that 91 percent of employees reported being more likely to enroll in benefits that they feel familiar with and educated about.
There also appears to be an investment opportunity for businesses in the technology arena because 64 percent of employees in the earlier-mentioned Thomsons survey said that they want to be able to access their benefits online but only 44 percent reported that their employer currently provides such capabilities. Moreover, worker respondents who said that they are very satisfied with the tech tools made available to help with managing their benefits were nearly twice as likely to view their benefits as “innovative or unique”, another compensation variable that can help a business attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive labor market.
Sources: Thomsons Online Benefits, SHRM, Willis Towers Watson, Benefits Pro, Lincoln Financial Group, NAPA, TIAAPost author: Charles Couch