This week, we excitedly clicked open the press release revealing the top-line findings from the 13th annual Metlife Employee Benefits Trends Study to see what interesting data the thought leader had for us this year. (We are benefits geeks, and don’t care who knows it.)
This year’s headline revealed that employers that offer 11 or more benefits—no word on which 11 are best—are most successful at being considered an employer of choice, and gaining a recommendation from their employees as a great place to work. At companies with no benefits, 46% of employees would call their company a great place to work; that number climbs to 53% when a company provides up to five benefits, and 66% when a company provides 11 or more benefits.
While we’d never stand in the way of a company that wanted to offer a benefits buffet to its workforce, those aren’t the numbers that intrigue us the most from this year’s Metlife data.
Rather, we zeroed in on the fact that more than half of employees (55%) say their company’s benefits communication doesn’t help them understand how they would pay for specific services or educate them on their benefits options. Another 49% are specifically experiencing financial stress and are looking to their employer for help using their benefits to achieve financial security.
This is like giving a person who’s never driven before the keys to a new Audi. All the benefits in the world—whether 11 or 111—don’t replace effective communication that teaches employees what benefits are available to them, how those plans/programs are uniquely relevant to their lives, and offers tools to use those plans/programs in the best way.
Our research tells us that the most successful companies communicate year-round, maximize online communication and leverage free and/or low-cost tools from other industry experts. If an employer is offering 11+ benefits, they surely want a big return on that investment beyond positive word of mouth. Implementing these three steps with communication provides bottom-line results that dovetail perfectly with a “great place to work” distinction.