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MetLife Study Overview: Enhance Employee Care Through a Holistic Approach to Benefits

Why having a connection to a professional employer organization (PEO) partner may be the best competitive advantage.

Quick look: According to MetLife’s annual benefit trends study, there’s a heightened focus on employee care and the value of what offering a holistic benefit experience means long-term. In essence, prioritizing employees’ physical and mental health perpetuates a positive workplace culture, which ultimately, positions businesses for continual growth.

MetLife’s 2024 Employee Benefit Trends Study suggests businesses should address improving employee care to maximize their organizational output. Per the study, when employees are satisfied with their benefits, they are:

  • 6x more likely to be productive
  • 5x more likely to be engaged
  • 5x more likely to be loyal

As a direct correlation to how fast and effectively a company can grow, it makes sense to invest internally.

The study covers areas where employees are seeking support the most, how employers can deliver a better employee experience, and why having a connection to a professional employer organization (PEO) partner may be the best competitive advantage.

Where employees seek workplace support

Today’s employees are facing day-to-day pressures personally and professionally which is affecting how they show up at work. The study reveals 17% of employees are more likely to experience burnout compared to pre-pandemic, and 51% are more likely to feel depressed at work.

To offer a solution which accounts for employees’ current needs, it’s important to identify where companies may be falling short. The study shows:

  • 86% of employees experienced a significant unplanned financial stress/expense, but only 48% felt their employer demonstrated care regarding the experience
  • 81% of employees were majorly impacted by an ongoing mental health condition, yet only half agreed their employer demonstrated care
  • 83% of employees who became the primary income earner experienced a high impact, with 58% believing their employer demonstrated care

The answer to boosting employee care financially, mentally, and in preparation for the future?

Benefits.

Employees who understand and use their benefits are significantly more likely to feel cared for by their employer (88%), which leads to higher retention rates and greater recruitment opportunities. Therefore, taking a closer look at common problems plaguing employees provides guidance on where to start when reshaping benefit plans.

Delivering a better benefit plan

A better benefit plan doesn’t necessarily mean bigger. Personalization is the differentiator for brokers and their clients to focus on.

With a PEO partner, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) receive access to premium benefits at cost-effective rates which are customized to adapt to a company’s changing needs. These may include:

Financial wellness programs

Financial burdens are one of the main stressors employees face. Financial wellness programs including retirement benefits, student loan debt relief programs, and financial advisory services can all help to alleviate some of these challenges and concerns.

Mental health care

Benefit plans which include mental health care and wellness prove invaluable for employees as they navigate everyday challenges. A PEO partner collaborates with brokers and their clients to fill in the gaps for mental health coverage not covered under traditional health insurance plans.

Additionally, employee assistance programs (EAPs) give employees access to a range of free mental health and wellness benefits, such as treatment for stress and anxiety, addiction assessments and referrals, and financial and legal advice, among others. Though this may already be a benefit some SMBs offer, it’s valuable to periodically re-communicate its accessibility to employees so they can get the support they need, when they need it.

Benefit education and awareness

53% of employees reported being holistically healthy when enrolled, used, and had a good experience with voluntary benefits compared to those who were offered one or more benefits (44%). This emphasizes the importance of addressing benefit comprehension and utilization during employees’ most critical life moments.

Stepping into the role of the primary income earner can apply additional stress to employees. SMBs can help ease this burden by providing voluntary benefits which include education and awareness regarding protections through disability insurance or legal planning to safeguard a family’s income.

While the study highlights several key areas, SMBs can work with their PEO partner to learn from their own employees regarding what benefits will make the most impact. Tailoring the employee experience with a sustainable benefit solution is an effective way for SMB leaders to show they care.

Personalizing HR and benefits to improve value

As a PEO partner, ExtensisHR supports brokers and their SMB clients in improving talent management strategies and creating a better overall experience in the workplace. This is achieved through a comprehensive, cost-effective suite of services including:

  • Benefit administration
  • HR and payroll services and guidance
  • Recruiting
  • Talent management
  • Risk and compliance management

… and more. A PEO tackles the full-time responsibilities of HR management and offers employers customized benefit plans to align with their business goals. Additionally, they promote ongoing education and communication necessary for employees to see the value of what’s being offered.

Stay ahead of the curve with a PEO partner

Even as benefit trends come and go, nurturing the employee experience will always be a priority. Therefore, working with a PEO partner dedicated to a people-first approach ensures this core value is upheld.

Unlike big-box PEOs which are often limited in the time and personalized attention they can offer, ExtensisHR works closely with SMB leaders to put meaningful plans into action which will contribute to a company’s continual growth. Employer and employee care is reflected by a:

  • Team of SHRM-certified professionals
  • 97% same-day resolution rate
  • 11-second response time sans automation
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 82 (more than double the industry average of 37)
  • 1% of PEOs with the trifecta of industry credentials

Get started with ExtensisHR

Employees continue to aim for a healthy work-life balance and look to their employers for benefits applicable to their lifestyle. To introduce new ways to enhance the employee experience, brokers can connect their clients to a trusted PEO partner.

Find out how working with ExtensisHR can empower SMB clients and boost your book of business. Contact our HR team today.

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