Employee Benefits Trends
What a difference 10 years makes. Metlife has been conducting their “Annual Study of Employee Benefits” for 10 years now and although there are no major surprises in this years’ study, there are some very interesting items to take notice of.
Ten years ago, when Metlife conducted their first study, Baby Boomers were looking towards the prospect of retirement. There was concern at the time with so many boomers exiting the workforce at once that huge gaps would be left in key employment roles with few qualified replacements to be found. But the recession has taken its toll on the dreams of many baby boomers and now most are planning to work well past the typical retirement age of 65.
Ten years ago Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 1999) were hardly a factor in the workforce and 10 years ago during the first study, only 33% ages 21-30 were concerned about running out of money in retirement. Today this same generation – burned by a never ending recession – more than half or 52% say they are fearful of running out of money in retirement.
The explosion of health care costs over the past decade has led to some changes in the approaches employers are using to try to help control costs. By 2005 larger employers were toying with Wellness programs, but today the trend has spread down to mid-sized companies. There is still little interest among smaller employers and thus perceive little value in wellness programs. This is, of course, a big mistake, as the real profit in wellness is increased productivity, morale, lower absenteeism and turnover.
And finally Met Life found a strong correlation between the level of employee satisfaction with benefits and their satisfaction with their job. We’re talking turnover here, folks. Turnover is costly.
Benefits satisfaction improves job satisfaction and reduces turnover. In addition, Voluntary benefits are beginning to play a major role in the workplace and these benefits also enhance employee satisfaction – interestingly, employees appreciate benefits that they pay for almost as much as they appreciate benefits they receive for free.