The perceived value of employee benefits has also been trending upward, from 43% in 2010 to 59% in 2012. Fifty-one percent of employees believe they are being offered a wide array of benefits, up from 38%. Employers are also reporting greater satisfaction with their benefits—37% in 2012, compared with 27% in 2011.
The effectiveness of benefit communications has also improved, from 36% in 2011 to 42% in 2012. The majority of employees report reading their benefit enrollment material—82% this year, up seven points from 2011—and most agree they prefer benefits communications they can read on their own time.
Employers’ interest in making benefits strategies a main focus is up 17% from the 2010 study, Prudential reports. In addition to shifting ownership and the cost of benefits to employees, employers’ top strategies in order of priority are:
- Expanding wellness, preventive and work/life balance initiatives;
- Improving the effectiveness of benefits communications;
- Cost-sharing with employees;
- Giving more financial responsibility to employees; and
- Increasing employee benefits education and financial advice.
“We are seeing two positive trends pointing to the successful evolution of employee benefit strategies,” Pelletier said. “Employers are well positioned to shift ownership of benefits to employees. At the same time, employees are taking on more responsibility for the benefits selection process and are expressing greater confidence in the benefits they are selecting.”
“Sharpening the Focus on Benefits Strategy” is the first in a series of five research briefs that will provide highlights from Prudential’s seventh annual “Study of Employee Benefits: Today and Beyond.” Research for the study was conducted via the Internet during July 2012, and consisted of three distinct surveys of plan sponsors, plan participants and broker/consultant audiences.