Study: Employees are concerned about finances, looking for benefits to help

Employees cite personal finances as their number one source of stress, according to MetLife’s 17th Annual U.S. Benefit Trends Study. Although Generation X employees have the lowest level of confidence in their finances, Millennials and Baby Boomers also expressed a lack of confidence in their financial security.

The MetLife EBTS is conducted each year among employers and employees to get perspectives on workplace trends and provide employers with insight into how they can respond to employee needs.

This year’s report focused specifically on how employers can attract, engage and retain talent during this time of record-low unemployment. The survey asked employees a number of questions about the work/life balance, what makes employees feel engaged at work and what stresses employees are facing, to give employers a sense of how they can meet their employees needs.

Among all generations, the survey found that the biggest cause of stress is personal finances. Although some stated that their stress was focused on more short-term concerns, paying bills or paying off debt, most of the top five sources for financial stress were retirement-related.

Although salary is cited as the most important element to help them navigate these situations, employees also see the importance of their benefits in helping them achieve financial security. Approximately 5 in 10 employees say better benefits can help them prepare for the unexpected and plan for the future.

What should employers do
Many employers are already taking note of employees’ desire for more benefit options. The study found that 57% of employers — up 7% this year — are committed to offering their employees a wider range of benefits, with non-medical supplemental benefits like accident insurance, critical illness insurance, and legal services plans.

For employers to really see the impact benefits can have on attraction and retention, the study suggests some steps they can take now, especially when communicating about benefits.
This is important since the survey found that only 1 in 5 employees feel they completely understand the benefits that are offered to them.

  • Engage employees as if they were customers. Instead of just focusing on individual products, communicate how the benefits work to add value in their lives.
  • Communicate benefits more effectively by using employees’ preferred communication channels: company’s benefits website, the provider’s website, in-person group presentations, benefits handbooks and one-on-one guidance.
  • Communicate benefits throughout the year, not just during open enrollment so that employees have the time to learn about their benefits and understand how they can help them.

To read more employee insights, you can read the report at: