Open Enrollment season is rapidly approaching and while employees will start to think of what they want and need, employers have been contemplating this for months. LIMRA research finds there are three top reasons why employers offer benefits:
- Retaining employees. Seventy-three percent of employers say retention is one of their top reasons for offering benefits.
- Attracting new employees. More than half of employers say they design their benefits program to attract employees.
- Staying competitive. Fifty-one percent of employers use their benefits program to remain competitive within the industry.
While attracting and retaining employees are the top two reasons for employers offering benefits, most employers do not ask their employees what types of benefits they’d like to see offered. Only 18 percent of employers survey their employees regularly to find out what benefits they are interested in, while 34 percent never ask.
This lack of insight into what employees want is leading to some disconnects between what employers offer and what employees value. LIMRA research shows that even though 70 percent of employers believe their current benefits offerings meet the needs of their employees, only 53 percent of workers with benefits are satisfied.
The study finds gaps when it comes to retirement savings plans, life insurance, critical illness coverage and long-term care insurance. Eighty-one percent of employees value retirement plans, but only 60 percent of employers offer it. While 60 percent of employees say it’s important to have life insurance available to them at work, only 48 percent of employers offer it. When looking at critical illness coverage, 44 percent of employees view it as important but just 24 percent of employers offer this benefit. Only 21 percent of employers offer long-term care insurance but almost half, 46 percent, of employees feel the benefit is important.
In addition, employers have shown a fair amount of interest in adding non-tradition benefits – such as wellness programs, tuition assistance, and identity theft protection – but LIMRA research finds most employees – regardless of age – still value insurance and retirement-related benefits more than other benefits, like wellness programs and tuition assistance.
In order to close the gap between employer and employee priorities, employers need to spend the time to learn what their employees value. Offering benefits that align with employee needs will help their employees feel more financially secure and improve retention.