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Employee Loyalty – A Huge ‘Benefit’

David P. Lind BenchmarkAccording to MetLife’s 10th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends report (released in March 2012), only 42 percent of employees indicated they felt a strong sense of loyalty toward their employer – a seven-year low. Interestingly within this same report, 59 percent of employers felt a strong sense of loyalty toward their employees…a seven-year high!

Another part of this study caught my attention, yet I’m not all that surprised.

About 61 percent of employees (generations included – Boomers, X, and Y) who were very satisfied with their benefits said they felt a strong sense of loyalty to their employer versus only 24 percent of employees who were very dissatisfied with their benefits. If offering strong benefits provides greater loyalty from employees is more causation (rather than a correlation), employers have hope on developing a long-lasting sense of loyalty to their employees.

Not a bad thing!

A few other interesting tidbits from this study include:

  • More than half of surveyed employees (58 percent) said that benefits were an important reason to stay with their employer, and this was highest among Generation Y (born 1981 – 1994) at 63 percent and with Generation X (born 1965 – 1980) who followed at 62 percent.
  • While 66 percent of employees said that health benefits were an important driver of their loyalty, only 57 percent of EMPLOYERS believed this to be the case.  Hmmm…
  • 59 percent of employees indicated that retirement benefits were “very important” when influencing loyalty to their employer, while only 42 percent of employers recognize this. Another Hmmm…
  • A large majority of employers see opportunities to leverage their benefits programs to engage their employees. Leveraging benefits can retain employees more effectively, increase employee productivity, and attract employees.

How loyal are your employees? If loyalty is high, maybe your benefits package is a bigger contributor than you might think. If it is low, there is hope, according to this study! Offering quality employee benefits can be very expensive, but it might be more costly to NOT offer such benefits.

Smart Phones – Smart Future!

David P. Lind BenchmarkIn March, on behalf of Humana, Inc., Forrester Research released their report, “Mobile Application Adoption Trends and Strategies To Engage The Workforce”. According to this report, the trend appears to be that more employers embrace the idea of interacting with their employees for personal and work-related activities using new technologies offered through smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Three key conclusions come from this report:

  1. An emerging demand for health and wellness mobile applications. Such applications enable employees to locate healthcare provider sites, track exercise activities, or monitor various biological conditions such as heart rates, glucose levels, and other health-related.
  2.  Mobile recruitment applications are emerging. Capturing candidate information during job fairs, interviews, or sharing video clips to candidates about specific jobs available within the organization.
  3. HR and benefits professionals implement awareness campaigns to promote employee adoption of mobile applications.  Purposes may include rolling out a new wellness campaign, incentive programs, and other new initiatives that are central to employment.

This report allows human resource executives and benefits administrators to look into the future when attempting to engage their workforce…using existing and new technologies.

Consider this:

  • About 17,000 health-related mobile applications are on the market*
  • By 2015, the number of mobile health service users are expected to reach 500 million*

Sprint launched a 12-week “Get Fit” challenge during the summer of 2011 and found big success using social media tools to engage employees to participate in wellness activities, such as weight loss, exercise minutes and pedometer steps. The estimated savings from this challenge, according to Sprint, was approximately $1.1 million. Partnering with ShapeUp, a wellness software company, Sprint used social networking tools that allowed employees to log their progress online through a website portal in addition to using mobile devices. Employees interacted with other employees throughout the country with friendly competitions – holding each other accountable. Sprint attributes a big part of the programs’ success to social networking. Social media tools can be a good thing when used appropriately!

Hmm, maybe it is time to learn more about what Iowa employers plan to do in the future regarding this new technology! Stay tuned.

*Stetler, Mark, “Trends in Healthcare and Medical Apps

Benefits Matter in Iowa!

David P. Lind BenchmarkEight in 10 employees say “benefits are one of the reasons they work where they do and that benefits make them feel appreciated by their organization,” according to a recent national study* by Mercer, a human resources consulting, outsourcing and investment services firm. 

The Mercer results coincide with the results we discovered in our 2007 Iowa Employment Values Study©, conducted to better understand the opinions, perceptions, and values of Iowa employees and how they differ from their bosses.

  • We found that employees valued retirement, vacations, and health insurance as the most important benefits offered by their employers. 
  • However, their bosses severely underrated the importance of other benefits such as long term disability insurance, life insurance and dental coverage to their employees.

So why is this important to you, the employer?  First, the investment made for employee benefits can be extraordinarily large, roughly 40% of an employee’s total compensation. You could potentially be overpaying for benefits that are not highly appreciated or not investing in benefits that employees greatly value. 

Avoid assuming you know what is important to your employees—you may need to ask them. Demographics such as age, gender, education level, race, generation distribution (Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y) all play key roles in determining what benefits are (or will be) most important to them. 

I leave you with one encouraging gem to consider. Employee benefits are important to employees, but the top four workplace values clearly desired by Iowa employees are not as expensive as you may think.  They are (in order):

Respect—being appreciated and valued in the workplace

Achievement—the sense of purpose and meaning from work

Balance—the opportunity to balance work time with family needs

Job Security—confidence that the job will be there every day, that it will not be phased out  

* Link to the “Mercer Workplace Survey.”