As barriers between work and life dissolve, employees want benefit choices that reflect more flexibility and customization, a new survey has found.
In many cases, employees are willing to pay more for the convenience, MetLife’s annual U.S. Employee Benefits Trends Survey revealed.
- 87 percent of workers whose employer enables them to manage life in and outside of work are more loyal and satisfied, the survey found.
- 72 percent say that having the option to work remotely is important to work/life balance.
- 60 percent of employees (69 percent of millennials) are willing to pay more to have benefits choices that meet their needs.
“People are saying ‘Treat me like a person, not a job description,'” said Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group Benefits at MetLife. “Employees want a say in how, when and where they work – and they are prepared to reward the organizations that deliver with hard work, performance and loyalty.”
Divergence Around Financial Wellness
Employees already have many choices in every other aspect of their lives, from food stores to retail shopping to streaming media.
Employers that provide benefits choices and opportunities that allow employees a work-life balance and professional development are best positioned to retain and attract qualified employees in a blending – and blended – workforce at or near full employment.
But in the realm of financial wellness, one of the most requested benefits, few employers offer the kind of help employees are looking for, the survey found.
- 84 percent of employees want or need financial wellness programs to help with financial planning, education and budgeting,
- Only 18 percent of employers offer financial wellness programs, the survey found.
- 43 percent of workers believe their employers understand the financial pressures employees are under, down from 54 percent last year.
Employees need help with their financial affairs “and are trying to figure out what to do,” Katz said.
The Two-Edged Sword Of Automation
While automating benefits processes holds the key to blending work and life by making flexibility and customization easier, many employees worry about eroding human connections in the workplace, the survey found.
The very tools that allow employees to blend work and life risk turning automation into a world ruled by computers, mouse clicks and algorithms – or automatons.
“While automation is the next workplace frontier, the biggest fear is that work is losing its human touch, likely due to unmet needs for personalization and recognition,” Katz said.
The survey found that 46 percent of employees and 51 percent of employers worry about the workplace becoming “less human.”
“For employees to feel connected and loyal in this era of automation, a positive employee experience is essential,” Katz said.
Data for MetLife’s 16th Annual U.S. EBTS survey was collected in December and January by research firm ORC International.
ORC conducted 2,501 interviews with benefits executives at companies with at least two employees, and 2,653 interviews with full-time employees, ages 21 and older, at companies with at least two employees.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected]
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