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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

As Employers Shift Health Benefits Strategies, What Do Employees Want? [Study]

As employers are shifting their health benefits strategies, employee satisfaction is at an all-time. And, 60% of employees would contribute more to their health benefits to have choice and personalization.

These are the findings from MetLife’s 12th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study (2014).

The new employer survey finds that employee satisfaction with benefits reached 50% in 2013 – the highest satisfaction since the survey began over a decade ago. At the same time, employers are shifting their health benefits strategy. Of those surveyed, 56% of employers are moving toward a health benefits strategy that requires a more active role from employees.

Here's a look at the survey's findings.

50% of Employees are Satisfied with Benefits

The number of employees who responded that they are very satisfied with their benefits increased from 38% in 2012 to 50% in 2013. While 50% may not seem high, it is the highest level of satisfaction employees reported since the survey started 11 years ago.

metlife_survey_-_employee_satisfaction

Source: Metlife

Additionally, the survey finds a significant rise in the number of employees who agree that benefits are a very important reason they joined and/or stayed with their company.

Employees Want Choice and Personalization with Health Benefits

The survey finds that employees want choice and the ability to personalize health benefits.

Over three quarters (78%) of employees want a greater variety of benefits to choose from and 80% would value benefits customized to individual circumstances and age.

And, more than ever, employees are ready to share responsibility for this variety: 60% are willing to bear more of the cost in order to have a choice of benefits that meet their needs.

metlife_survey_-_choice_is_important

Source: Metlife

Employees Want More Help Understanding Health Benefits

While employees are ready to have more choice, and play a bigger role in selecting and purchasing health benefits, they are not completely knowledgeable yet. 

More than half of employees surveyed (53%) agree — and 37% strongly agree — that they need more help understanding how their benefits work and how they help meet their needs. This is especially the case with younger workers. Additionally, 42% of employees surveyed are not confident that they use their benefits effectively now.

employee_education_is_important

Source: Metlife

Employees' Financial Concerns are High

The survey finds an increase in concerns among employees with financial issues. Compared to 2012, employees are more concerned about affordable health insurance, paying medical bills, job security, meeting monthly living expenses, and whether their employer will reduce benefits.

financial_concerns

Source: Metlife

So, what are the key employer trends?

Employers Shifting Health Benefits Strategies

The survey finds the level of company commitment to offering health care remains the same as in last year’s Study. However, benefits delivery options and models continue to evolve and employers are exploring a range of potential cost saving options for implementation in the next three years.

According to the survey, 56% of employers are moving toward a health benefits strategy that requires a more active role from employees (such as premiums tied to wellness activities, consumer-driven health plans, defined contribution plans, etc.).

employers_shifting_strategies

Source: Metlife

Employers Prioritizing Cost Controls, Impact on Loyalty and Retention

When asked about the importance of benefits objectives, 88% of employers report that cost control is a very important benefits objective. However, retention and loyalty continue to be equally important. These two priorities are a balancing act and can be achieved with the right strategy.

metlife_-_employer_priorities_with_benefits

Source: Metlife

Methodology

MetLife’s 12th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study was conducted during October and November of 2013 and consisted of three distinct studies fielded by GfK Custom Research North America. The employer survey comprised 1,510 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies with staff sizes of at least two employees. The employees survey comprised 1,203 interviews with full-time employees age 21 and over, at companies with a minimum of two employees. The broker survey comprised 524 interviews with brokers and consultants who sell group employee benefits to companies of all sizes.

Read the full survey here.

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