Quick look: Last month MetLife released a new study reaffirming the importance of expansive benefit offerings. It mentions how benefits contribute to employees’ feelings of stability and happiness about their jobs, in addition to common enrollment barriers posing challenges for brokers and their clients. As the workforce enters a new era where voluntary resignations are on the decline, it’s an ideal time to evaluate what’s contributing most to employee satisfaction and maximize as many opportunities as possible.
Earlier this year, MetLife released a study showing how much benefit satisfaction had dropped between 2020 and 2023. Part of the reason was due to the shift in benefit expectations post-pandemic, going beyond the traditional health and 401(k) plans. Mental well-being, long-term healthcare, and financial wellness emerged as areas employees deemed a priority, though not all companies were prepared to make the necessary changes.
To reiterate the importance of benefit satisfaction, a follow-up MetLife study published in September illustrates why this topic continues to be a large part of the conversation. Here’s a closer look at what the statistics reveal and what actions brokers can take now to help their clients prepare for 2024.
Better benefits equal happier employees
It’s no secret employees feel they should be compensated fairly for their work. However, they also value employers who invest in their well-being and make strides toward improving job satisfaction. This includes offering a competitive benefit plan. According to MetLife’s most recent data:
- 82% believe their benefits give them a greater sense of overall stability
- 76% of workers who understand their benefits are happy
- 73% say “being happy” is the most important aspect of their work experience
Happy employees make loyal employees, and loyal employees are a company’s biggest asset. This has been emphasized over the past few years as employers have faced challenges, namely the Great Resignation, brought on by dwindling job satisfaction. In response, employers have leaned more heavily on their broker relationships for solutions.
Working with a professional employer organization (PEO) partner has also been a key advantage. To stay competitive with larger companies, brokers are connecting their small- and medium-sized business (SMB) clients to a team of experts who can handle the full scope of HR responsibilities, starting with benefit administration and management. Additionally, a PEO provides access to premium benefits with customized solutions in a cost-effective way. Having a team dedicated to a company’s unique benefit strategy alleviates the increasing hurdles brokers and SMBs face when it comes to compliance, competitiveness, and everyday HR management, including enrollment.
Since employees are leaning more toward job loyalty, the workforce is experiencing a shift deemed the “The Big Stay.” According to the MetLife study, 77% of employees intend to be with their employer in a year. Therefore, brokers are expanding their offerings through a PEO partner to give their clients reasons to stay.
What’s hindering employee enrollment?
When there’s an investment in the quality of benefits, ensuring there’s also a plan to overcome enrollment barriers becomes just as important. With the help of a PEO partner, brokers give clients advice on how to boost enrollment and share communication regarding the value of benefits. Furthermore, they can take a closer look at what may be hindering benefit participation and generate ideas for improvement.
The benefits enrollment process can feel overwhelming, especially for new employees. In order to maximize efforts, having a proactive approach is successful for all. A few of the most common enrollment barriers the study identifies include:
62% of employees say a better understanding of their benefits would give them a greater sense of overall stability while 50% say it would make them more loyal. Rather than wait for the enrollment period to come around to give information about changing benefits, it’s smart to give employees year-round information accessibility so they can make decisions as circumstances change.
Also, providing various modes of communication is helpful as well, especially with the increase in distributed workforces. For some, a general overview in a group setting is enough to suffice. Whereas, others may seek one-to-one guidance to determine which benefits are best.
Nearly one-third of employees (31%) admitted procrastinating when selecting their benefits last year, and 37% wish they’d had more time to review their options to make the right choices. With enrollment season occurring in the last quarter, it’s typically one of the busier times of the year for employees as well. Having enough time to thoughtfully choose their benefit plan can help increase participation and satisfaction because they’ll experience the value of what’s offered.
Almost half of employees (44%) failed to consult others before enrolling in benefits last year. As a result, this same group said they were less likely to understand their benefits and more likely to worry about unexpected health and financial issues. The person-to-person approach of a PEO partner gives the specific attention employees may need to feel comfortable moving forward with and/or changing their benefits.
Availability of a wide range of benefits
With benefits being one of the most valuable factors in employee satisfaction, having the support of a PEO partner makes a difference in a broker’s competitiveness. In addition to traditional health and retirement plans employees have come to expect, a PEO like ExtensisHR provides access to top-tier vendors like MetLife, and can also deliver financial benefits, employee assistance programs (EAPs), and more.
Furthermore, the team collaborates closely with broker clients to create customized plans with personalized attention. These plans include a comprehensive suite of HR implementation, benefit administration and management, risk and compliance services, and more. Delegating these responsibilities frees up time for SMB employers to focus on other areas of company growth.
Employees often require different benefit options, and it’s up to SMBs to comply by expanding their choices. And now these require ongoing review to ensure they still align with industry trends and demand. To continue recruiting and retaining the best employees, attention to benefits must remain a priority.
ExtensisHR helps brokers and their clients expand their offerings and promote business growth. For more information about how a PEO partnership can benefit you, contact our team today.