Benefits

Gaps in Planning Impact Ability to Manage Benefits Costs, Says Study

A new study explores the complexity of managing benefits and the value of multiyear planning to better position Human Resources as business strategists to the executive suite.

Benefits

Rawpixel / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Hub International Limited (HUB)—a global insurance brokerage—has released the results of its second annual employee benefits study: Employee Benefits Barometer 2017: Why Human Resources Must Take a Long-Term View. HUB surveyed more than 300 employee benefits professionals from organizations with 50 to 1,000 employees.

Mike Barone, President of Hub International’s Employee Benefits practice stated, “Based on the research, it’s clear that there is still work to be done to position Human Resources as a strategic partner to the C-suite.  As benefits are a major operating expense, HR leaders need to take a long term view of their benefits plans to really demonstrate the value they contribute in talent acquisition, retention, attraction, productivity and ultimately company performance.  HR isn’t quite there when 65% spend less than a year planning their benefits.”

“Unfortunately, the limited commitment to planning and implementing strategies for cost management identified in the study—as well as the lack of focus on addressing what employees want—is troubling,” said Linda Keller, National Chief Operating Officer of Employee Benefits, Hub International.  “There are many different generations in the workforce and when only 28% of respondents are focused on the new Millennial employee population, there’s a missed opportunity for HR.  It could be standing in the way of HR getting a seat at the senior management table.”

Key insights from the study:

  • Multiyear benefits planning is lacking: 65% of respondents say they spend less than a year developing their annual benefit plan changes.
  • Certain planning concerns rise to the top: 81% of respondents selected managing costs as one of their three primary benefits priorities; 50% list helping workers make better benefits decisions.
  • New cost management strategies, while top of mind, may not be on the docket: While four out of five companies say one of their goals is to manage health benefits costs better, 40% do not plan to implement any new cost management programs in the next 12 to 18 months and 50% believe that they’ve done all they can reasonably do to manage costs.
  • Investments in benefits administration technology can be difficult to secure: 53% say they need a better technology solution to reduce their workload but 36% of respondents report that they struggle the most to convince their CEOs/CFOs to make technology investments.
  • Meeting the needs of a multigenerational workforce is not always a prime focus: Only 28% of respondents identified this objective as a top priority, despite the growing presence of Millennials in today’s workforce.
  • Wellness can provide a morale boost: 54% cite employee morale as their most improved metric from implementing wellness programs.

Download the 2017 HUB Benefits Barometer Study: Why Human Resources Must Take a Long-Term to learn more.