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Are You Listening? (Metlife) AGOS12


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Informe en el que se analiza cómo las pequeñas empresas pueden atender las políticas de descuentos y recompensas para sus empleados. (inglés)

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Are You Listening? (Metlife) AGOS12

  1. 1. Are You Listening? Are You Listening? What Small Business Employees Want From Their Benefits, And How Employers Can Show They’ve Heard1
  2. 2. HAVE YOU ? “Help! I’m financially stressed – and more concerned at an earlier age.”HEARD Employees in small businesses (2 – 499 employees) who are very concerned about: $ Having enough money to pay bills Having enough money to make ends meet during a period of sudden loss of income 59% 68%what small business* $ Paying off debt 51% + Having enough money to cover health insurance (e.g., premiums and/or out-of-pocket expenses) 58%employees are saying 56% 54%ABOUT BENEFITS I Younger Workers I Boomers 47% 51%“Times are tough. I’m counting on benefits more than ever.” “I’m less loyal than you think.”Small businesses (2 – 499 employees) Small businesses (2 – 499 employees) 54% As a result of current 44% 50% Younger economic conditions, Workers I am counting on more help from my I Employees who feel a very strong sense of loyalty to employer in achieving their employer current financial security through employee benefits Boomers 37% I Employers who believe that employees have a very strong sense of loyalty to the company 2011 “I see voluntary, non-medical and retirement“When it comes to benefits, I’m interested in choices.” benefits as bigger loyalty drivers than you do.” A choice of voluntary benefits Salary/wages Voluntary benefit products 20 % 38 % $ 71% 70% Life Insurance Dental Coverage + 11% Non-medical insurance benefits Benefits that (dental, disability, life insurance) drive loyalty Health benefits 29% 20% 28% 27 % 44 % in companies with 2 – 499 54% 59% employees 41% 38% Company culture Retirement benefits Critical Illness Insurance Vision Benefit 9% 51% 49% 35% 52% 10% Advancement opportunities 29% 26% I Employers I Employees 40% 50% 38% 38% “And, I’m willing to pay.” 66% 53% Disability Income Home Owners/Rental Replacement Coverage & Auto Insurance 8% 2% 29% 31% Employees in smaller companies who say... 40% 44% “Based on the past 12 months, I am willing to bear more of the cost of my benefits rather than lose benefits.” I Companies with 2 – 499 employees Younger Workers Boomers that offer voluntary products I Younger Workers interested in the product – even if they have to pay 100% of the cost For more insights and ideas, visit for MetLife’s latest I Boomers interested in the product – even if they have to pay 100% of the cost white paper – Are You Listening? What Small Business Employees Want from their Benefits and How Employers Can Show They’ve Heard. Plus, download* Small business is defined as employers with 2-499 employees in our Checklist for an Employee-Centric Benefits Program. accordance with the Government Small Business Administration definition.© 2012 METLIFE, INC. L0712270844(exp0913)(All States) Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10166
  3. 3. Checklist for an Employee-Centric Benefits Program 1 n Establish a financial wellness initiative. Listen » ake financial education options M available to help employees feel in control n Set up regular communication channels of their economic affairs. and forums to ensure you elicit and hear » rovide online tools and calculators P employee interests, concerns and attitudes so employees can more conveniently toward the company and benefits. determine the coverages they need. n Focus on understanding the different points » ffer supplemental and voluntary O of view of your older and younger workers. disability and life insurance so employees can obtain adequate coverage levels 2 conveniently through the workplace. Process » eep tabs on government tax reform that K may make it more viable to offer a 401(k) n Determine what is working (keep), what or IRA savings program. is not working well enough (drop or modify) and what is missing (consider voluntary options). 4 Communicate 3 n Communicate the value and scope of the program. Implement » epeat the message several times a year R n Build out the benefits strategy with – not just at open enrollment. It’s never voluntary products and services. a “once and done” activity. » eview the current program from an R » here’s no need for costly campaign T materials. Clear and concise emails employee point of view and identify can spark interest and inquiry. where employee-paid products will fill the gaps. » e open to opportunities for satisfied B employees to endorse the program » dentify employee needs and interests I and tell colleagues about their positive and match product options to them. experience. » ork with a benefits broker, consultant W 5 or carrier to find viable products and the best administrative support and service for your situation and workforce. Assess n Work with your benefits adviser and carriers » evelop a compelling internal marketing D to analyze participation and usage data. campaign to employees with help from your broker to ensure maximum n Listen some more. (See point #1!) participation. If you explain it – they will sign up! n Create a holistic health strategy that includes supplementary health benefits. » xplore a wide range of products E including vision insurance, critical illness insurance, prescription drug programs, dental insurance, accident insurance and EAPs.
  4. 4. Are You Listening? Hearing the Ocean in a Seashell That’s what kids think when they hold a large seashell up to their ears and hear the roar of the waves – no matter how far away they are from the ocean. But, of course, the wave-like noise is not coming from the sea. The sounds they are hearing are from their surrounding environment. The shell acts as a resonating chamber, picking up ambient noise and producing a sound frequency spectrum like that of ocean waves. Small business employers don’t need a seashell in order to listen to their workplace environment. But they need to ensure they are on the same frequency as their employees and understand the implications and opportunities inherent in the feedback.Table of ContentsIntroduction 01Section 1: Feeling less valued and more expendable 03Section 2: Counting on benefits more than ever 07Section 3: Looking for greater benefits choice and flexibility 12Section 4: Worrying about health care affordability 18Conclusion — A window of opportunity for benefits engagement 20About the Survey — Methodology 20
  5. 5. IntroductionCompanies today spend significant resources, time and focus on understandingthe wants and needs of their customers. In fact, customer satisfaction is now seenas a leading indicator for measuring business success. Equally important for businesssuccess is employee satisfaction. Customer satisfaction depends on providingresponsive customer service, and that requires satisfied and loyal employees. Indeed,the wants and needs of employees deserve as much attention as those of externalcustomers. Yet in this era of austerity, many small businesses – those with fewer than500 employees* – have concentrated on simple survival and staying ahead of the costcurve and, as a result, many have reduced their investment in employee satisfaction.During the darkest days of the recession, when employees may have been glad just to have a job, this wasacceptable. However, after many months in which associates have worked harder, faced layoffs and acceptedstagnant compensation, how do employees feel about their company and their benefits? Are employers living upto employee expectations? There is mounting evidence that small business owners’ insights into their employees’attitudes may be inaccurate on a number of counts. These misperceptions could have important implications forthe business as the economy shows signs of growth.In the first quarter of 2012, the SP 500 had its best first quarter since 1998.1 Moreover, small businesses are inthe forefront of this recovery. The June 2012 ADP Payroll report shows that small business payrolls have revertedto 96.9% of their pre-recession levels, whereas larger companies are only at 92.4%.2 Motivated, committed andproductive employees will be a key component for leveraging these encouraging trends, and this will requirea heightened awareness of talent needs and a renewed focus on employee hiring and retention on the part ofsmall business owners. In addition, a keen appreciation of employees’ wants and needs will be advantageousas small businesses make key health care decisions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s upholding of mostof the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This paper defines a small business as one with 2-499 employees in accordance with the Government Small Business Administration definition * 1
  6. 6. Are You Listening?Distinguishing generational voicesiIt is important that employers tune into the attitudes and outlooksof both older and younger workers in the workplace as benefits that “ he perspective is Taccurately reflect employee needs will be more effective and return so different; I can’tgreater value. Younger workers now outnumber Boomers in small imagine that anybusinesses (FIG 1). Gen Y, in particular, represents the employee pipeline generation would seefor the future. Yet default employee benefits practices are oftenreflective of the Boomer era. Generational preferences are not just things the same way.”about life-stage; younger workers have a profoundly different benefits — Gen X 3perspective that has been shaped by their experiences in the recession.Fig 1Based on responses to the 10th Annual MetLife Study of Employee BenefitsTrends, younger workers in companies outnumber Boomers. Their opinionsshould carry weightSmall businesses (2 – 499 employees) 15% 41% I Gen Y 56% I Gen X Younger Workers I Younger Boomers I Older Boomers Older Workers 41% 25% 16%Only about a third (32%) of small business owners strongly agree that they strive to understand and meetdifferent generational benefits needs.4 Typically, employee communications are more easily facilitatedin smaller companies, providing an opportunity to better understand and act upon generational concerns toensure that benefits are meaningful for all employees.Based on findings from the 10th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends, this paper exploresthe current mindset of older and younger small business employees in four key benefit areas. It reveals whyemployers would do well to listen carefully to these issues and proposes low-cost remedies that employers canadopt to show they have heard.2
  7. 7. Section 1 Key Findings Feeling less valued and more expendableThroughout the economic downturn, small business employees havetolerated the tough measures required to keep the business running, andthey have worked harder for less reward as evidenced by the fact that 31%of small business employers report that productivity increased in the past 12 “ feel like I’m just a Imonths. However, productivity gains have come at a cost for morale. More number. You know –than one-half (58%) of small business employees report that in the past12 months they have experienced at least one of the following situations: easily replaceable.”increased stress, decreased job security, heavier workloads and a decline in — Gen Xthe quality of their work. The result is that employee loyalty has been on adownward trend for several years and is today lower than many employersrealize (FIG 2).Fig 2A misperception of employee loyalty – small business employers overestimateemployee company loyalty – a trend that has been evident since 2008Small businesses (2 – 499 employees) 57% 54% 54% 53%I Employers who believe that employees have a very strong sense of loyalty to the company 49% 50%I Employees who feel a very strong sense of 44% 44% loyalty to their employer 2008 2009 2010 2011Frustrated employees could put business at riskMisperceptions about employee loyalty may be preventing small businessemployers from recognizing a potential costly business risk, i.e. turnover. Overa third of their workforce (36%) say that they hope to be working elsewhere “’m not as loyal as Iin 2012 – a percentage that rises to 42% for younger workers. Furthermore, I used to be.”an additional 14% of workers report they are ambivalent about whether — Younger Boomerthey stay or leave. While these employees may ultimately remain with theircompany, their apparent de-motivation is a concern for productivity. 3
  8. 8. Are You Listening?Cost-effective opportunities to improve retentionMetLife research reinforces the power of employee benefits to influence job satisfaction and loyalty.Small business employees who are satisfied with their benefits are more likely to report greater jobsatisfaction and loyalty. In addition, positive associations with benefits satisfaction are even strongeramong younger workers (FIG 3). The following steps may help realize opportunities to use benefits tocost-effectively improve retention.FIG 3Younger workers at smaller companies are especially likely to showthe positive effects of benefits satisfaction on loyalty and retention 71% 70% 72% 61 % 56% 46% 47 % 50% 46 % 39% 42% 32 % I am very satisfied with I believe that my employer has a I feel a very strong sense the job that I have now very strong sense of loyalty to me of loyalty to my employer I All Younger Workers I Younger Workers who are very satisfied with benefits I All Boomers I Boomers who are very satisfied with benefits■ Get the job done – economically Small business owners certainly recognize the important role for benefits in retaining employees – 84% report that it is an extremely important benefits objective for them, comparable with their other top objective of controlling benefit costs (85%). Moreover, employers are not sidestepping their commitment to benefits. More than three in four (77%) small business employers believe they have a responsibility to pay at least part of the cost. Current economic conditions, however, have put pressure on small business benefits budgets, to the point that 65% report that their ability to pay for benefits has been hindered.4
  9. 9. Feeling less valued and more expendable Given this financial squeeze, it is more important than ever to channel investment dollars toward those benefits that deliver the greatest impact for least cost, yet research shows this may not always happen. Many employers underestimate the power of non-medical benefits to drive employee loyalty almost as much as health coverages – but at a fraction of the cost (FIG 4). In particular, comparatively lower-cost life, dental and disability insurances can be smart choices both for the budget and for supporting business retention objectives.FIG 4There is a disconnect between small business employers and employees regardingthe role non-medical, retirement and voluntary benefits play in driving employee loyalty A choice of voluntary benefits Salary/wages 20 % 38 % $ 71% 70% Non-medical insurance benefits + 54 (dental, disability, life insurance) Health benefits Benefits that 44 % 59% % 27 % drive loyalty in companies with 2 – 499 employees Company culture Retirement benefits 51% 49% 35% 52% Advancement opportunities I Employers I Employees 40% 50% 5
  10. 10. Are You Listening?■ Toot the company’s horn – louder It is likely that employees have little appreciation for the dollar value of the benefits they receive. Employers can maximize the benefits “loyalty halo” with some self-promotion. A third of small business employees (32%) say that they expect their company to reduce benefits in 2012. Yet only 10% of smaller companies report that they plan to take this course of action. Rectifying such misperceptions is an opportunity to reinforce the company’s commitment to maintaining employee benefits and also to promote the program.■ Enhance employee loyalty with workplace flexibility Prior to the recession, encroaching technology was already melding the boundaries between time spent at work and time spent with family and “ our personal life and Y friends. In the face of job insecurity and understaffing, many employees your business life just are now working longer and harder – further eroding work-life balance. commingle. I’m reading Fifty percent of Gen Y report that they are working harder than their parents,5 and 33% of employed workers say that their employer made emails sometimes at them work longer hours and more overtime since the recession began.6 midnight.” Time is a highly valued commodity and more than 60% of employees — Gen X identify flexible schedules as the most important work-life practice their employer could provide.7 Pressure to choose between work and family demands has consequences for companies as well as employees in terms of lost productivity and performance. Adding job flexibility may be a low-cost solution (FIG 5) that can be easily and informally administered in smaller companies as a way to help employees feel valued and engaged.FIG 5Work-life balance programs contribute to employee loyalty in small businesses8especially for younger workers Boomers Younger Workers“ Work-life balance programs are very important in making me feel loyal to my employer.” 31% 43%6
  11. 11. Section 2Counting on benefits more than everWhile these are signs of economic recovery, employees may not be personally feeling it. The recession has beentough for everyone, but younger workers have taken the brunt of the impact in terms of unemployment andunderemployment (FIG 6). While Boomers have been hit less hard, they have been forced to postpone andrewrite their retirement plans. Overall, concerns about financial security are higher among workers in smallercompanies compared with larger ones, perhaps reflecting the deeper difficulties experienced by the smallbusiness sector during the economic downturn.FIG 6Younger workers in smaller companies are feeling more financially stressedby the effects of the recession than BoomersEmployees in small businesses (2 – 499 employees) who are very concerned about: $ Having enough money to pay bills Having enough money to make ends meet during a period of sudden loss of income 59% 68% 58% + 51% Having enough money to cover health insurance Job security (e.g., premiums and/or out-of-pocket expenses) 49% 54% 44% 51% $ Paying off debtI Younger WorkersI Boomers 56% 47% 7
  12. 12. Are You Listening?In addition to deeper economic day-to-day concerns, faith in government “ ith the not-so-secure Wsafety nets is also declining – especially among younger workers. Only future of Social Security,15% of Gen Y workers in smaller companies expect that Social Securitybenefits will be there by the time they retire. This widespread sense of I think workplacefinancial insecurity has significant implications for employee benefits. retirement programsForty-three percent of surveyed small business employees report that, and insurance haveas a result of current economic conditions, they are counting on their become increasinglyemployers for more help in achieving financial security through theiremployee benefits (FIG 7). valuable to people.” — Gen XFIG 7The economy and holes in government safety nets have made employees in smallercompanies more dependent on their workplace benefitsSmall businesses (2 – 499 employees) 50% As a result of current Younger economic conditions, Workers I am counting on more help from my employer in achieving current financial security through employee benefits Boomers 37%Employee financial stress is bad for the company bottom lineWhen focused on personal financial worries and problems, employees can be distracted at work. Distractionis more likely among younger workers where one in four report that they have taken unexpected time offto deal with personal financial issues and/ or spent more time than they think they should dealing with themin the workplace. This is a bigger problem in smaller companies where lost productivity can hit the bottomline much faster than in larger organizations. In addition, financial stress may be associated with physical andmental health problems such as migraines, back pain, ulcers, substance abuse and depression – all of whichmay lead to sick days and increased health insurance claims. Yet small business employers tend to be less awareof the potential effects of financial “illness” on company costs. Only about one in four employers stronglyagree that financial stress contributes to employee absences at their company. Only 34% recognize thatfinancial stress contributes to health problems.8
  13. 13. Counting on benefits more than everAn aging workforce requires new strategiesIn response to their reduced retirement nest eggs, more than a third of Boomers (37%) plan to delayretirement. While this is good news for companies concerned about losing this valuable pool of experienceand expertise, there is a downside in the undeniable fact that older workers are more likely to experiencedisability-related absences and be more costly for a health plan. Sixty percent of small business employersexpect that an aging workforce will increase their benefits costs, but only 12% expect to enjoy offsettingproductivity gains from the retained knowledge. Actions that help Boomers attain financial security willenable them to exit the workplace, while also allowing companies to control their health care costs.Cost-effective opportunities to improve financial wellnessEmployees report that the benefits they receive at work help reduce worry about unexpected health andfinancial issues. Yet only slightly more than one in four (28%) small business employers perceive financialwellness initiatives as very effective. Reviewing the current benefits program from an employee perspectivecan reveal gaps in employee financial knowledge and confidence, along with the need for relevant andpractical financial information. Providing employees with financial education opportunities, together withaccess to helpful protection products, can demonstrate empathy and appreciation on the part of the employer,while also realizing cost and productivity advantages. Moreover, these programs generally do not come with ahigh price tag. The following steps illustrate ways that small businesses can cost-effectively support improvedemployee financial wellness.■ React to employee interest in financial education 72 % Almost three out of four (72%) small business Almost three out of four small business employees employees report they are interested in their report interest in their employer providing financial education programs. employer providing financial However, just over one in four small businesses education programs. (29%) offers them. Investing in financial wellness means helping employees feel more confident and more in control of their personal financial situations. Providing financial education is a proven 29 % Just over one way to do this. Financial skills such as budgeting, in four small credit management and saving for the future can businesses be learned, however, many employees, especially offers them. younger ones, may not have resources for this. Employers should be encouraged by the fact that across companies of all sizes where financial education programs are available, the participation rate is quite high. Forty-four percent of employees who have access to a financial education program at work say they attended in the last two years. In addition, employees who participate are 35% more likely to say that they are confident in their financial decision- making compared with those who did not take part. 9
  14. 14. Are You Listening?■ Select the right program for employees A key to success is delivering the right topics in the right format to meet specific employee needs (FIG 8). For example, younger workers might be more interested in financial literacy skills rather than planning for retirement. Never underestimate the power of face-to-face interactions. Even tech-dependent Gen Y still values the opportunity for one-on-one advice. Benefits carriers, brokers and local agents are good resources for providing financial education services. There is often no cost to employees or the company for these educational programs.■ Provide access to adequate coverage when the benefits budget does not stretch An important component of financial security is protecting one’s income. Yet 42% of the American workforce reports it could not cover its financial Younger Workers obligations for more than a month, in the event of 68 % job loss.9 Thirty percent of U.S. households have no life insurance.10 So, it’s no wonder that more than two-thirds (68%) of younger workers and more deeply than half (58%) of Boomers report they are deeply concerned concerned about coping with sudden income loss with sudden – risks that may ultimately be addressed by life income loss Boomers insurance and disability income protection coverage. 58 % Small business employers can play an important role in helping ensure that their workers have access to adequate income protection. Many employees are unclear about how much coverage they need – and in American Workforce cannot cover the case of disability insurance – even how it works. 42 financial Online insurance calculators, often available on carrier % obligations for more than a month websites, can provide easy and no-cost solutions for educating employees of all ages on this important issue. U.S. households If providing adequate levels of life and disability 30% insurance for employees is beyond the scope of the do not have life insurance benefits budget, consider offering supplementary life and disability products that permit employees to buy the coverage they need at the workplace. In addition, of course, communicate these opportunities clearly and often to employees.10
  15. 15. Counting on benefits more than everFIG 8It is important to ensure that selected financial education topics and forums meetthe preferences of both older and younger workersSmall business employees are interested in... Online tools 66% 52% A financial adviser sponsored by my employer 59% 41% Financial planning/retirement webinars via 53% 40% the Internet Financial planning/retirement in-person seminars 50 % 38% Advice and guidance from an expert via telephone 42% 31%I Younger Workers I Boomers 11
  16. 16. Section 3Looking for greater benefits choice and flexibilityAmericans have come to expect a wide choice of products and services in every aspect of life, and benefitschoice is no exception. Employees today say that they are looking for a wider variety of benefits to choose from,and they prefer that programs be customized to their individual circumstances and generational interests. Thisis especially true for younger employees who are already accustomed to personalizing their world throughtechnology (FIG 9). This can be a challenging expectation for small businesses’ budgets that may not be able tostretch to add employer-paid options to meet diverse employee needs. When asked about projected benefitschanges over the next five years, less than half of small business employers say they are planning to respondto employee preferences for increased choice and customization.FIG 9Small business employers lag in adapting benefits programs to respond to employeedesire for customization and choice when it comes to benefitsSmall businesses (2 – 499 employees) Benefit changes employers believe are likely in the Benefits scenarios employees say they value next 5 years Younger Workers Boomers Employers 74% 64% 72 % 64% 44% 47% 71% 66% 46% I Greater variety of benefits I More personalized benefits to be I More personalized benefits for employees to choose from offered that are geared to different to be offered that are geared employee individual circumstances towards different age groups12
  17. 17. Looking for greater benefits choice and flexibilityTake their word for it – employees are willing to payto get the benefits they wantWorkers understand that when it comes to benefits the “deal” withtheir employers is different today, and they no longer expect theiremployer to foot the entire benefits bill (FIG 10). Indeed, since entering “ y generation expects Mthe workplace, younger workers have always had to reach into their to pay a portion of ourwallets for co-pays and deductibles. Even Boomers are more accepting benefits.”of this new reality. Voluntary benefits, where employees pay 100%of the cost of benefits through the workplace, are clearly a viable — Gen Ysolution for small businesses and can serve to fill gaps and supplementemployer-paid programs to provide a more holistic benefits offering.FIG 10Employees of all ages would rather pay for benefits than lose them 66 % 53 % Employees in smaller companies who say... “Based on the past 12 months, I am willing to bear more of the cost of my benefits rather than lose benefits.” Younger Workers Boomers 13
  18. 18. Are You Listening?There’s a price for neglecting voluntary benefitsVoluntary benefits have far less traction with small businesses than withlarger companies. About two-thirds of smaller companies (62%) report “ hen looking for a job, Wthey do not offer voluntary benefits and 41% of smaller companies the number one thingsay it is unlikely they will increase the number of voluntary benefitsoffered in the next two years. Interest in voluntary benefits is growing is benefits.”faster in larger companies – 57% say that it is a significant part of their — Gen Ybenefits strategy compared to 31% of smaller companies (FIG 11).FIG 11Interest in a voluntary benefits strategy is growing faster in larger companiesVoluntary benefits are a significant part of our company’s benefits strategy 57% 43% 31% 33% 26% 19% 2010 2011 Year over Year % IncreaseI 2 – 499 Employees I 500+ EmployeesThis is a missed opportunity for small businesses – one that could be costly when it comes to attractingemployees. The Study shows just how much benefits factor in decisions to choose one employer overanother – especially for younger workers (FIG 12).14
  19. 19. Looking for greater benefits choice and flexibilityFIG 12Benefits are more important for attracting younger workers than older workersSmall businesses (2 – 499 employees) 46% 29% “The employee benefitsYounger offered to me were an BoomersWorkers important reason why I came to work for this employer.”Cost-effective opportunities to leverage voluntary benefitsEmployees have made their willingness to pay for benefits abundantly clear. Small business employers cancapitalize on this by embracing a range of employee-paid (voluntary) benefits to fill gaps in their benefitsprogram and respond to different generational and life-stage benefits requirements. Adding voluntary productsbroadens the available benefits options and choices and increases the perceived value of the benefits programwithout affecting the company benefits budget. Voluntary benefits are an affordable coverage option foremployees too – often available at group rates through the convenience of payroll deduction.■ Identify the openings for voluntary programs Currently there is a discrepancy between employee interest in voluntary benefits and the percentage of small business employers who offer them (FIG 13). This gap is especially notable for younger workers. There is significant opportunity for smaller companies to stand out from the competition by adding these desirable programs. The next step should be to explore where voluntary products can be offered and thus effectively motivate and satisfy employees. Smaller companies may be able to obtain this feedback from informal employee communications rather than formal surveys. 15
  20. 20. Are You Listening?FIG 13Comparison of voluntary programs offered and employee interestVoluntary benefit products Life Insurance Dental Coverage Critical Illness Insurance 11% 10% 29% 20% 28% 29% 41% 38% 38% Disability Income Home Owners/Rental Vision Benefit Replacement Coverage Auto Insurance 9% 8% 2% 26% 29% 31% 38% 40% 44%I Companies with 2 – 499 employees that offer voluntary productsI Younger Workers interested in the product – even if they have to pay 100% of the costI Boomers interested in the product – even if they have to pay 100% of the cost16
  21. 21. Looking for greater benefits choice and flexibility■ Introduce differentiating, appealing benefits Voluntary benefits also provide a low-cost way to introduce non-traditional benefits with employee appeal. Think broadly and beyond the standard benefits offerings. Consider programs such as legal services that may offer a convenient and affordable resource for will preparation, child adoption or identity theft resolution. Or, explore offering auto and home insurance through the workplace, which provides the advantages of group rates and timesaving payroll deduction.■ Activelymarket voluntary benefits to drive increased participation and appreciation It will be important not only to inform employees about their employee- 41% of small business paid benefits options but also to actively market these opportunities. employees say that Employees need to fully understand and appreciate what the benefits do for them and how they are relevant. Although this may sound arduous access to benefits to an overworked small business employer pulled in many directions, information on the benefits advisers and carriers offer a range of solutions that can do Internet would be the heavy lifting. helpful.■ Minimize administrative angst The service and enrollment experience for small businesses has evolved, and voluntary benefits administration is not as onerous as it once was. Many brokers and carriers now offer convenient, web- based enrollment tools that provide a simpler, quicker enrollment experience – one that integrates multiple provider enrollments for reduced administrative responsibilities, provides participation reports, reduces costs and frees up time to focus on running the business. Such systems can also boost participation because employees value the ease of enrollment as well as guided decision support – from calculators to live operators – to help them understand and make the best benefits choices. 17
  22. 22. Section 4Worrying about health care affordabilityThe Affordable Care Act recently survived the challenge to the constitutionality of the individual mandate inthe U.S. Supreme Court and, for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees, implementation will moveforward. (There may still be significant legislative challenges for health care reform ahead, depending on theoutcome of the 2012 presidential election.)The Affordable Care Act contains provisions to help small businesses make health care coverage available totheir employees, such as the availability of Small Business Health Options Programs (“SHOP exchanges”) wheresmall businesses will be able to access affordable insurance for their employees. The opportunity to provideaffordable health coverage has advantages for small business employers because 59% of small businessemployees cite health coverage as a reason for their loyalty to the company. Moreover, healthy employeesare productive employees. Although details of the legislation are still complex and developing, small businessemployers should work closely with their advisers to consider how they will comply with the Affordable CareAct and if it presents them with new opportunities to increase employee satisfaction.Health insurance is not health assuranceRegardless of how health care legislation evolves, the reality is that forces remain at play that will continueto drive the cost of health care higher for some time to come. Seventy-seven percent of younger workers and70% of Boomers say they are concerned about being able to meet all the extra costs of a serious illness notcovered by their medical insurance. There is a significant need for added protection for employees.Cost-effective opportunities for health care■ Offset out-of-pocket health costs with supplemental medical products Over the last decade, for many employees there has been an inexorable rise in their health care costs. With increased premiums, higher deductibles, and larger co-pays, many families are now unable to afford to pay their out-of-pocket costs. Supplemental health products, such as employee-paid critical illness insurance, accident and hospital indemnity products, vision benefits and dental insurance, have a great deal to offer employees facing this challenge. These programs cost much less than medical plans – vision benefits, for example, can be as little as one tenth of the price. They are benefits that nearly everyone can use, and they provide high value/high return for employees and employers.18
  23. 23. Worrying about health care affordability Some of these newer benefits will be unfamiliar to employees. For example, 72% of full-time employees said they have never heard of critical illness insurance and two-thirds of those who have heard of the product confuse it with health insurance and disability coverage.11 However, once the product’s features are explained and they understand that critical illness insurance provides a lump sum cash payment to help with the extra bills associated with a serious illness, employees find the concept of the benefit appealing and most are willing to pay the entire premium.■ Improve health outcomes Supplemental benefits are also beneficial to employers as they can improve health outcomes and enhance wellness. For example, employers may recognize that vision benefits are popular with employees, but they may be surprised to learn about the added advantage of encouraging employees to get regular eye exams. Eye doctors are often the first to uncover diseases such as diabetes and hypertension at a stage where they are less costly to treat and before complications sap productivity.12 Additionally, the connection of dental health and overall health is well established, and employees with dental benefits are more likely to get regular dental checkups. A healthier workforce is associated with improved productivity and lower health costs for the company. 19
  24. 24. ConclusionA window of opportunity for benefits engagementFar from being a justification for scaling back on benefits, “ am counting on the Ithe weak economy actually provides an opportunity for benefits – always.”small businesses to leverage benefits to further business — Gen Xgoals. As this paper has shown, the economy has madeemployees lean more than ever on their workplace benefits. With the aid ofknowledgeable brokers and consultants, small businesses can use this window ofhigher benefits engagement on the part of employees to invest in cost-effectivebenefits products and services that will improve employee job satisfaction andloyalty. The key to success will be putting employees at the center of the benefitsplanning process and using the resulting insights to provide a program that showshow much the company values these important internal customers.About the SurveyThe 10th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends was conducted during Septemberand October of 2011 and consisted of two distinct studies fielded by GfK Custom Research NorthAmerica. The employer survey comprised 1,519 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companieswith staff sizes of at least two employees. The employee sample comprised 1,412 interviews withfull-time employees age 21 and over, at companies with a minimum of two employees. Of theinterviews, 944 were conducted with decision-makers at companies with fewer than 500 employees,and 685 interviews were conducted with employees who work for these smaller businesses. GfKCustom Research North America is part of the GfK Group, one of the world’s largest and mostprestigious market research organizations, operating in more than 100 countries. Headquartered inNew York City, with 10 offices in the U.S., GfK Custom Research North America provides full-servicemarket research and consulting services in the areas of Customer Loyalty, Product Development, Brand Communications, Channels, Thought Leadership, Innovation, and Public Affairs. GfK CustomResearch North America has an entire business unit dedicated to Financial Services Research, butserves a wide range of other industries as well. For more information, contact Carole Herpin, VP,Financial Services, or visit
  25. 25. End Notes 1 Business This Week, The Economist, April 7, 2012 2 ADP Employment Report, June 2012 3 This and subsequent employee quotes are from MetLife qualitative research conducted in Summer 2011 or from video interviews with employees conducted in Winter 2011. Respondents are from companies of all sizes 4 All data referenced is from the 10th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends unless otherwise indicated 5 Fifth Annual MetLife Study of the American Dream, 2011 6 A Balance Sheet at 30 Months: How the Great Recession Has Changed Life in America, Pew Research Center, June 2010 7 Work-Life Balance, Bloomberg Business Week, March 27, 2009 8 9th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends 9 MetLife Study of the American Dream, 2011 10 LIMRA Life Insurance Ownership Study, 2010 11 MetLife’s Financial Impact of a Critical Illness Study, April 2010 12 Human Capital Management Services Group (HCMS), April 19, 2011 i Generations are defined as full-time employees: Gen Y born 1981 – 2000. Respondents are age 21 and older Gen X born 1965 – 1980 Younger Baby Boomers born 1956 – 1964 Older Baby Boomers born 1946 – 1955 21
  26. 26. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 200 Park Avenue1900033423(0712)© 2012 METLIFE, INC. L0712266929(exp0913)(All States) New York, NY 10166PEANUTS © 2012 Peanuts Worldwide