– Short-Term Productivity Gains Had Hidden Costs –
– More Than One-Third of Employees Hope to Change Jobs in Next 12
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
As the U.S. economic outlook continues to improve, employee loyalty is
on the decline, according to MetLife’s 9th Annual Study of Employee
Benefits Trends, released today. According to the study, 47% of
employees report feeling very strong loyalty to their employer, down
from 59% just three years ago. Yet many employers may be caught unaware
by this downward trend since they believe their employees feel the same
loyalty toward them today as they did several years ago. About half
(51%) of surveyed employers today believe that their employees have very
strong loyalty to them, and half believed the same in 2008.
While employers of all sizes saw productivity gains over the past 12
months, proving that many were able to “do more with less,” this
short-term gain may have come at the expense of employee loyalty. While
43% of larger employers (with 500 or more employees) and 38% of smaller
employers (with fewer than 500 employees) reported productivity gains in
2010, more than one-third (36%) of employees hope to work for a
different employer in the next 12 months.
"Worker loyalty has been slowly ebbing over the last several years, and
it is important that employers take action to turn the tide around. The
short-term gains employers realized from greater productivity appear to
be short-lived and now pose bottom-line challenges as key talent
considers other employment opportunities that have arisen as a result of
the improving economy,” said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice
president, U.S. Business, MetLife. “There is no doubt that the
rebounding economy will bring more opportunities for employees,
especially the high performers. A well-architected benefits offering
will play an increasingly important role in retaining employees and
positioning organizations for future growth.”
Balancing Three Benefits Objectives
The study found that employers’ top three benefits objectives remain the
same as last year: 1) controlling health and welfare benefit costs, 2)
retaining employees and 3) increasing employee productivity. However,
declining employee loyalty indicates that, without careful evaluation,
steps to achieve one objective may negate efforts in another area.
“Achieving all three benefits objectives is a skillful juggling act, but
an effective balance can be found. Employers need to look at their
benefits offerings differently – through a new holistic lens – in order
to maximize their effectiveness as a retention tool for their unique
workforce while meeting other business objectives,” said Dr. Ronald S.
Leopold, vice president, U.S. Business, MetLife.
The study found that employees who report that they are very satisfied
with their workplace benefits are about three times as likely to
indicate that they are highly satisfied with their current job and feel
more loyal toward their employer compared with those who are very
dissatisfied with the benefits program. Among employees who are highly
satisfied with their benefits, 76% report being satisfied with their
jobs and 71% report feeling loyal to their employers, compared to only
24% and 25%, respectively, for employees who are very dissatisfied with
Understanding some of the factors motivating employee loyalty is key.
Salary and wages continue to be the most important drivers of employee
loyalty, which employers recognize, but there is significant lack of
awareness of how other benefits are also driving loyalty. For example,
while 38% of surveyed employers believe retirement benefits are
important loyalty drivers, 64% of surveyed employees say they are.
Similarly, 37% of employers said non-medical benefits such as dental,
disability and life insurance are important factors in employee loyalty,
while 59% of employees said they are.
Communications and the Generations
Employees have disparate preferences when it comes to benefits
communications, indicating a need for a multi-faceted approach.
According to the study, more than half (55%) of all employees do not
find their benefits materials to be clear and comprehensive, and only
about one in four is satisfied with his/her benefits communications.
Employees say they would like to see:
While 70% of employers say they do not use social media, there is an
appetite among younger employees for receiving information in this way.
The study found that 42% of Gen Y employees and 38% of Gen X employees
would be interested in accessing/receiving benefits information through
social networking sites (as compared to one in ten Baby Boomers).
Similar percentages of Gen Y and Gen X employees are interested in
having information available through mobile devices. Although social
media use among employers seems slow in adoption – only 8% of employers
who do not currently use social media plan to implement use in the
coming year – barriers seem minimal. Only:
“While a third of employers in the study said that changing employee
communications is simply not a current priority, effective
communications can make the difference between benefits that are
understood and valued, and benefits that are overlooked and
underutilized. Communicating effectively is related to improved benefits
satisfaction, job satisfaction and loyalty,” said Dr. Leopold. “Efforts
do pay off. Among employees who said that their employer improved
communications over the past year, 65% felt their employer was loyal to
them, compared to 33% of employees overall.”
Holistic Health: Financial Wellness
Since employee lifestyle choices contribute significantly to health care
costs, disability costs and productivity, it is not surprising that the
number of employers offering wellness programs continues to grow.
Overall, surveyed employers offering wellness programs climbed from 37%
in 2009 to 45% in 2010. Among larger employers (500 or more employees),
that percentage has grown from 61% in 2009 to 72% in 2010. Nearly three
out of four employers (72%) that offer wellness programs say they are
effective at reducing medical costs.
Taking a holistic approach to employee health is a way to address
financial health as well. The recession has left symptoms of “financial
illness” in its wake. The stress of struggling with financial concerns
can take a physical toll on employees, contributing to health-related
costs, and decreases in employee productivity. The study shows that
employees who say they are not in control of their finances are more
likely to report poor health. For instance, 68% of employees who say
they are in very good or excellent health say they are also in control
of their finances, compared to just 7% of employees in fair or poor
health. Employees are clamoring for help – 52% report being interested
in receiving financial advice and guidance through the workplace, and
this increases to 81% among those who acknowledge that financial
concerns have impacted their workplace attendance or productivity.
Retirement: Employees Need a Map and Directions
When it comes to retirement planning, both now and in the future,
employees need both guidance and access to protection. Over 60% of Baby
Boomers indicate they are behind in saving for retirement. Only one in
five younger Boomers (ages 46 to 54) and one in four older Boomers (ages
55 to 65) say they have achieved, or are on track to achieve, their
retirement savings goals. Over half of employees, including those on the
cusp of retiring, are not confident that they know how much annual
income their savings will generate once they retire and many are not
doing the calculations to find out. Why? Many fear the news will not be
positive – four out of ten Boomers don’t think they will have the money
they will need. Three in ten Boomers say they don’t know how to
determine the figure needed. Nearly three-quarters of employees across
all generations (73%) are interested in receiving help from their
employers in the form of retirement and financial planning advice.
The study also found that approximately half of employees who are behind
in saving for retirement are interested in their employer automatically
enrolling them in a savings program such as a 401(k). In addition,
employees have expressed an interest in receiving some, or all, of their
retirement income in the form of guaranteed income – 69% would like
their employer to offer an annuity as part of their 401(k) plan.
However, only 15% of employers said they currently offer annuities.
The 9th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends is available at www.metlife.com/benefitstrends
along with a wealth of other related benefits resources.
The 9th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends was conducted
during the fourth quarter of 2010 and consisted of two distinct studies
fielded by GfK Custom Research North America. The employer survey
comprised 1,508 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies
with staff sizes of at least two employees. The employee sample
comprised 1,412 interviews with full-time employees age 21 and over, at
companies with a minimum of two employees.
GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group, one of the
world’s largest and most prestigious market research organizations,
operating in more than 100 countries. Headquartered in New York City,
with 10 offices in the U.S., GfK Custom Research North America provides
full-service market research and consulting services in the areas of
Customer Loyalty, Product Development, Brand & Communications, Channels,
Thought Leadership, Innovation, and Public Affairs.
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading global
provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving
90 million customers in over 60 countries. Through its subsidiaries and
affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States,
Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more
information, visit www.metlife.com.
MetLifeKaren Eldred(212) email@example.comJoseph