Although American workers are split in their satisfaction levels with employer-provided benefits, companies offering benefits still have a competitive advantage over those that do not, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found in a recent survey. Satisfaction with an employer’s benefit offerings is crucial to employees’ overall job satisfaction and morale.
Nearly six in 10 workers (59%) who are extremely satisfied with their benefits are also extremely satisfied with their job overall (compared with 18% who are very satisfied with their benefits or just 8% who are not satisfied with their benefits), according to the 2016 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey, conducted by EBRI and Greenwald & Associates.
Similarly, more than two in five workers who are extremely satisfied with their benefits package describe current employee morale at their workplace as excellent (43%), compared with fewer than one in 10 (8%) among those dissatisfied with their benefits, EBRI reported. Health insurance was called extremely or very important by 87% of respondents, followed by a retirement savings plan (77%), and dental or vision coverage (72%).
Thus, it is of concern that more than half of the surveyed employees reported being either only “somewhat satisfied” (32%) with their benefits, or not satisfied (20%). Moreover, fewer than one-half of respondents (49%) are extremely or very confident that their employer will continue to offer a similar benefits package 3 years from now. Those who are less confident that their benefits will remain the same tend to believe their benefits will weaken.
“Workers clearly prefer that their employers continue to pay for benefits,” EBRI noted in the survey report, released April 18. Forty-two percent expressed a preference that employers keep offering and paying for benefits the way they have in the past, while 39% would like to choose benefits from a list provided by the employer, with the employer continuing to pay the amount they currently spend toward these benefits and the worker paying any remaining amount.
Just 20% prefer shifting toward a system where the employer gives the worker the money they currently spend on benefits and leaves it up to workers to decide whether to purchase benefits on their own and how much to spend.
“Employers who offer a strong employee benefits package that balances costs and choice should find themselves with a competitive advantage over other companies when it comes to attracting and retaining desirable workers and will have more satisfied employees overall,” EBRI concluded.
The 2016 survey was conducted online in June 2016, using the Research Now consumer panel. A total of 1,500 workers in the United States ages 21 to 64 participated in the survey. The data were weighted by gender, age, and education to reflect the actual proportions in the employed population.