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Coming Soon! 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©

Newest Study Coming Soon!We are very pleased that 1,025 Iowa employers have responded to our 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©! This number met our goal of having 1,000 organizations participate in our 18th annual survey. The results of this study will be available in late September.

To put this response into meaningful perspective, the 2015 Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey, a highly-regarded national survey, reported 584 respondents in the Midwest region that consists of 12 states (including Iowa). In other words, our survey has 74 percent more respondents — in just ONE state! This means that we are able to accurately report the specific benefits offered by Iowa employers using extremely credible data.

As we prepare to release our 18th Study, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The Overall Summary of the 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© will be available for download from our website.
    • Employers who participated in the 2016 Survey will be sent an invitation in late September to download this report using a specific pass code.
    • Employers who did not participate in the 2016 Survey will be able to download this Overall Summary for a small fee.

We will also be updating our benchmarking program – Lindex®  allowing employers to compare their specific benefit offerings with other Iowa employers. Lindex® was developed with simplicity and intuitiveness in mind. In addition to learning how your benefits package compares with other Iowa organizations (using pertinent criteria such as employer size and industry), employers will be able to learn their individual Lindex® score and how their total benefits package compares to Iowa norms. There are some very sophisticated aspects about this benchmark program that will be extremely helpful to employers of all size and industry!

Our 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© and/or Lindex® benchmarking program will be available for purchase in late September.

How can employers determine their Lindex® score?

You can either contact DPLB to learn more or visit with your authorized-benefits consultant to develop your Lindex score. If your consultant does not currently participate in the Lindex program, have them contact DPLB to learn how!

Please continue to visit our website to learn when our:

  • 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© is available for download
  • Lindex® benchmark program has been updated with fresh 2016 survey data

An easy way to stay informed is to subscribe to this blog.

The Value of Employee Benefits…
It’s a Passing Parade

Portland Grand Floral Parade 2016

Portland Grand Floral Parade 2016

On the eve of receiving our new 2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study survey results, I once again have a great deal of anticipation about what this data may reveal. At this point, I only know that 1,014 randomly-selected employers responded to this survey which continues to exceed our annual goal of 1,000. A big ‘thank you’ to all organizations that took the time to participate in this annual work!

Offering workplace employee benefits has been happening for decades. From the employee perspective, receiving various workplace perks is a staple expectation when being interviewed and ultimately hired by most employers. In fact, recent research conducted by staffing and HR service company, Randstad US, shows that jobseekers most value salary, employee benefits, long-term job stability and a pleasant work environment.

Employers, for their part, offer employees and jobseekers a cadre of benefits they believe to be highly-valued by their mainstream targeted ‘audience.’ But it is extremely important for employers to dissect their intended audience by gender, age groups (e.g. generation), location, race and other factors that will help clarify the benefit ‘value’ employees desire. By not doing so, a disconnect will eventually occur, resulting in a large chasm of a wasted investment that is costly, both in terms of money and desired human capital.

Conducting biannual employee engagement surveys may eliminate much of the guesswork that employers have when trying to predict which future strategies to embrace. I suspect that a healthy chunk of employers put their human investment strategies on cruise control assuming that the desires of employees five or ten years ago will still apply in today’s world. Most often, they do not.

Much like a New Year’s Day or Fourth of July parade, a perpetual flow of people (and floats) coming and going will not be replicated again. In a similar fashion, so does the employment pool that organizations continue to encounter.

One example on how employers respond to the ‘new parade’ of employees can be found through three employers: Aetna, Fidelity and PricewaterhouseCoopers. All three have launched their own student loan matching programs for employees who are pursuing undergraduate and/or graduate-level degrees.

Beginning in 2017, Aetna’s full-time employees will qualify for matching loan payments of up to $2,000 per year, totaling $10,000 per student. Part-timers will receive half of this amount by pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees from accredited institutions.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), about 3% to 4% of all U.S. companies contribute to employees’ student debt payments to help soften the financial burden they increasingly face. About 71% of college graduates carry student loan debt, totaling $1.3 trillion of student debt in this country. A need clearly exists to help alleviate financial hardships and new approaches must be pursued.

Our annual study’s purpose is to survey employers about the key benefits they offer at this particular point in time. It allows employers to compare their benefits with the mainstream. However, the juxtaposition of organization culture and employee attributes can allow any organization to stake a claim on having a competitive advantage when attracting and retaining their most prized asset – the employee. To do this, the organization will need to account for what is most important and valued by their employee population.

So enjoy this year’s parade, but be ready for upcoming attractions that may appear in the next one.

To stay abreast of employee benefits and other tangential issues, we invite you to subscribe to this blog.