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How Do Your Benefits Stack Up?

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) recently released the results of its Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey. This survey asks employees how they feel about their benefits.

The survey found that employees really value their health benefits — 87% of employees report that health coverage is extremely or very important to them. And 72% of employees feel the same about dental and vision benefits.

Yet 1 in 3 workers say they’re only somewhat satisfied by the health benefits currently offered by their employer. And 1 in 5 aren’t very satisfied at all.

So what do your employees expect from their benefits? What will keep them satisfied?

And how can you tell if your health benefits measure up to their expectations?



What employees expect

It’s clear — employees value their health benefits. And we know that employees who are satisfied with their benefits are also more satisfied with their jobs.

In fact, employees overwhelmingly consider health insurance to be the most important workplace benefit when deciding to stay in a current role or accept a new job offer.

So, what makes your employees satisfied or not satisfied with their benefits? And what do they expect?

Employees report that 3 main factors play a role in whether they like their benefits or not:

Choice: The vast majority of employees think it’s important for their employer to offer a choice of benefit plans, particularly when it comes to health plans. “One size fits all” plans are out and more likely to lead to dissatisfied workers — choice is in, especially for millennial employees.

Costs: Employees clearly prefer that their employers pay for at least some of their benefit costs. Almost 4 in 10 say that having to pay the full cost of benefits is a disadvantage. So flexible options for managing your costs and theirs, such as spending accounts, could be a great way to increase employee satisfaction without breaking the bank.

Convenience: Employees appreciate options that make managing their benefits more convenient. For example, more than 50% say that they prefer online enrollment to paper-based enrollment. And about 3 out of 5 say that they’d take advantage of benefits advice online, even though most feel confident in their ability to make informed decisions about their benefits.


How you can be competitive

Now that you know what employees value, it’s time to take action to make sure your benefits measure up.

Start by asking your employees what they like and don’t like about their benefits. And what they’d like you to change. Consider conducting an anonymous survey.

Also, compare your benefits offer to other employers in your industry. Competition for talent is higher than ever. So keeping a finger on the pulse of benefit trends is increasingly important.

For example, 1/3 of organizations increased their overall benefit offerings from what they offered last year. And 34% of employers now report offering coverage to their part-time employees, too, up 27% from 2014.


Employers are offering health coverage to more than just their full-time employees.
Source: 2017 Employee Benefits (SHRM)


And before you do anything with your benefits offer, don’t forget to consider:

  • How you will communicate changes to your staff
  • How to discuss the rationale behind your benefits strategy
  • The amount of time your employees will need to plan and make benefit decisions

Your health insurer is there to help you educate your employees so that they can understand and make the best use of their benefits.