A recent LIMRA study focusing on employees benefits found an increasingly diverse workforce is seeking more robust work/life benefits in addition to salary.
With workplace benefits critical to employers’ efforts to attract and retain employees in today’s hot job market, the LIMRA Benefits and Employee Attitude Tracker study asked employees about the most important criteria they look for in a potential employer.
The top benefits cited by surveyed employees included:
When employers were asked if they were considering adding benefits in the next two years, 27% said they were very/extremely likely to add insurance benefits. In addition, 22% said they were very/extremely likely to add non-insurance benefits.
During a recent LinkedIn Live event focused on the study’s findings, two LIMRA executives, Sean O’Donnell, senior vice president, Member Relations and Consulting, and Patrick Leary, corporate vice president, Workplace Benefits Research, discussed a few trends that are currently impacting the workforce-benefits landscape.
According to the speakers, an understanding of these trends will:
Help address several issues, including the evolving workplace benefits and their implications on benefits offering and delivery.
Align benefits strategies to meet the needs of today’s employers and employees.
Enhance the understanding of current attitudes of employees and the role of work culture in employee retention.
Benefits more valuable post-pandemic
Fifty-four percent of employees view their benefits as more valuable now than they did before the pandemic, and 67% are paying more attention to the benefits offered and the coverages provided.
Leary noted that there are now five generations in the workforce—and they all want their benefits to be tailored to their specific needs. Employers are paying attention to this desire by employees.
“The real takeaway here is that you cannot take anything for granted anymore,” O’Donnell said. “You must understand the role that benefits play and understand that the need for benefits changes over time.”
Employee income under pressure
Both O’Donnell and Leary pointed out that consumer income is under more economic pressure and this is affecting their use of workplace benefits. With record-high inflation and talks of an economic slowdown, employees are keeping a close eye on the amount of money they are willing to spend on their benefits.
The maximum amount of money that employees said they would spend on benefits on average each month is $273. Those with higher incomes and families with children are willing to spend more. But in general, benefits dollars are limited; so, employers and other stakeholders must communicate to employees the importance of the benefits they are offered.
Benefits model will define success
The speakers also pointed out that employers must work to build a new workplace-benefits model. Many employees say they spend less than one hour in reviewing their benefits information. Given the small amount of time that employees spend on reviewing their benefits information, employers need to clearly communicate their benefits to them and let them understand the value of these benefits.
In general, employees do not understand their benefits and want more communication about them. This is an opportunity for employers to redefine the employee experience, Leary said. Instead of providing communication just once a year, employers should communicate more often and communicate on an ongoing basis.
“You avoid what you don’t understand,” he pointed out.
Also, O’Donnell said, the technology that is used in presenting these benefits to employees is critical. “We must better leverage technology to communicate benefits to employees,” he said.
To achieve success in the increasingly important workplace-benefits landscape, employers must create a story around benefits and look at individual benefits as pieces of a puzzle, Leary said. “Think of how each piece relates to the other,” he added.
Ayo Mseka has more than 30 years of experience reporting on the financial-services industry. She formerly served as Editor-In-Chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Contact her at [email protected].