Loyalty on the rise while employees look to employers for financial security, Metlife annual benefits study finds

Employee loyalty is on the rise, with 45 percent of employees saying they plan to work for their current employer 12 months from now, compared with 41 percent last year, according to MetLife’s 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study. Loyalty is strong among all generations with 57 percent of baby boomers and 53 percent of both Generation X and millennials saying they are committed to their current employer’s goals. This may be due to increasing financial concern: just 46 percent of all employees expect their personal financial situation to get better in the next year, compared to over half (52 percent) in 2014.

Benefits as means of obtaining financial support. Employees, particularly millennials, are looking to their employers for help when it comes to addressing financial matters. Just under half of millennials (44 percent) say they want their employer to help them solve their financial concerns, a response more than double that of boomers (20 percent). Similarly, three-fourths (75 percent) of millennials say their employers have a responsibility for the financial well-being of their employees.

Employees have grown increasingly interested in workplace benefits as a means of obtaining financial support. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of employees say they’re looking to their employer for more help in achieving financial security through employee benefits, compared to 49 percent in 2011.

“Today, millennials represent the largest share of the American workforce, and by the year 2020 nearly half of workers will be millennials. While it’s common knowledge that millennials are often more motivated by meaningful work than the size of their paycheck, our study shows that millennials – and all employees – are looking to the workplace for guidance and support to achieve financial security,” said Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits, at MetLife. “With only 44 percent of employees feeling in control of their finances, employers today have a unique opportunity to drive loyalty and retention by empowering employees to make informed benefits decisions.”

Benefits education yields results. Employers have a significant opportunity to educate employees on traditional and voluntary benefits and how they can be used to address financial concerns. There’s a real need for this education, especially among younger workers. The study revealed that among millennials, confusion reigns: only 52 percent had an understanding of life insurance, compared to 69 percent of boomers; similarly, only 38 percent of millennials had an understanding of long term disability insurance, compared to 57 percent of boomers.

Employees are also unclear as to the practical and financial value of voluntary benefits, with only 47 percent of employees agreeing that non-medical benefits can help them limit their out-of-pocket medical expenses. For employees without a savings cushion of three months – including approximately 65 percent of millennials – these expenses could lead to a financial drain.

For employers, this is an opportunity to evolve into a more consultative role and provide meaningful education and training for employees, while also engendering loyalty.

Optimal enrollment conditions key for benefits confidence. To alleviate confusion about benefits, it’s critical that employers create optimal enrollment conditions, enabling their employees to make informed decisions about which benefits best suit their specific needs. This includes providing employees with a variety of robust decision-support resources and personalized offerings to help them make educated benefits decisions for their individual situations.

This is especially important for millennials: compared to their older counterparts, younger employees feel the least confident in their benefits decisions. To address this, the study found that strong communication is a key driver of employee confidence during benefits selection, with the most effective resources being one-on-one consultation. Despite popular perception that younger adults prefer technology over one-on-one interaction, the study found that 68 percent of millennials value one-on-one consultations with a non-sales benefits expert, compared to 62 percent of Gen X and 57 percent of boomers. Employers looking to harness the power of one-on-one consultations can turn to outside experts such as brokers, consultants and enrollment communications firms.

“Helping employees to understand the value of their benefits through engaging communications is critical for both the employee and the workplace,” said Katz. “If employees fully understand their benefits options, they’ll make better purchasing decisions and in turn, decrease their financial stress.”
SOURCE: www.metlife.com

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.