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2013 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©

David P. Lind BenchmarkWe are very pleased that nearly 1,060 Iowa employers have responded to our 2013 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©! This surpassed our goal of having 1,000 organizations participate in our 15th annual survey. The results of this study will be available in early September.

To put this response into meaningful perspective, the recently released 2013 Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey, a highly-regarded national survey, reported 592 respondents in the Midwest Region that consists of 12 states (including Iowa). In other words, our survey has 78 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.

In addition to this phenomenal response, in mid-September we will unveil new and exciting enhancements with this year’s study. Some of the changes include:

  • The Overall Summary of the 2013 Iowa Employer Benefits Study© will be available in an electronic format, allowing employers to access this report on our website. As with our 2012 survey, printed studies will no longer be available.
  • Employers who participated in the 2013 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 2013 Survey will be able to download this Overall Summary. A fee will be required to access this report.

In addition to the above enhancements, we’ll be introducing a new benchmarking tool in September, allowing employers to compare their specific benefit offerings with other Iowa employers. This innovative benchmarking tool, Lindex-Online® has been developed with simplicity and intuitiveness in mind. In addition to learning how your benefits package compares with other Iowa organizations (using many criteria such as employer size, industry and location), employers will now be able to learn their individual Lindex® score and how their total benefits package compares to Iowa norms. I must say, there are some very innovative aspects about this benchmark program that will be extremely helpful to employers of all size and industry!

Please visit our website frequently to learn when this new web-based tool will be available. An easy way to stay informed is to subscribe to this blog.

Benefits Valued by Iowa Employees

Happy Employees in IowaOur 2007 Iowa Employment Values Study sheds light on many questions that employers continue to wrestle with today…namely, what workplace values are most important to their employees? In last week’s blog, I discussed the 11 key workplace values that are ranked by employees and their executives.

Of the 11 workplace values rated, Benefits ranked number seven, which was seven points less than the top-ranked value, Respect. Within this Study, differences of four or more points are statistically significant. The three values that were at least 4 points greater than Benefits were Respect, Achievement and Balance (having the opportunity to balance work time with family time). The other three ahead of Benefits, but fewer than four points were: Job Security, Money and Employer Leadership. Time will tell whether employees continue to rank these values in a similar fashion from six years ago.

We asked employees and their bosses in this Study to rank the importance of nine benefits (Table below). The bosses (executives) rated how important they believed each benefit was to their employees. NOTE: The questions were presented to respondents using Likert scales. Scored on a 1 to 100 scale, the highest number represents the most positive response.

Values Study - Benefits

As you might expect, Health Insurance and Vacations are rated highly by both groups. In most other benefit categories, however, executives underrated the importance to their employees.

Executives severely underrated the importance of Long-Term Disability Insurance, Life Insurance and Dental Insurance to their employees. Retirement is also substantially more important to employees than executives realized. Employees ranked Retirement first, while executives ranked it fifth. One must wonder how the Great Recession has impacted such rankings today…

Some other key findings for employers to consider from this 2007 Study include:

  • Benefits by Gender: Females reported almost all benefits as more important than their male counterparts. Female employees responded that Sick Pay and Holidays were much more important than their male counterparts and female executives recognized this importance. Also, Health Insurance, Long-Term Disability Insurance, Life Insurance and Dental Insurance were much more important to female employees than male employees. Male executives were the least cognizant of the importance of all of the benefits listed to their female employees.
  • Benefits by Age: Categories of those younger and those older than 50 years of age were also studied. With the exception of Health Insurance, executives under 50 grossly underestimated the importance of benefits to their employees, especially Retirement, Long-Term Disability Insurance, Life Insurance and Flex Spending. Employees of both age categories rated the importance of these benefits similarly, with the exception of Flex Spending which was much more important to the younger group of employees.
  • Benefits by Tenure: Employees with five years or less at their current job consider Health Insurance to be the most important benefit. However, those employees with greater tenure consider Retirement plans most important. Executives underestimated the importance of five major benefits (Retirement, Dental Insurance, Long-Term Disability Insurance, Life Insurance and Flex Spending). This Study also found that executives with less tenure are slightly more accurate in their perceptions than those with greater tenure.

Much can be learned from this Study which can be applied in today’s world. One important takeaway is that executives must be more cognizant of what is most important to their employees and continue to find ways to bridge this gap. This Study suggests that employees have needs and desires that are far different from what many executives perceive. By the way, the new Lindex tool recently developed by David P. Lind Benchmark, uses key findings from this Study when determining the weights assigned for each benefit ‘score.’ 

Executive responses from smaller organizations disclose that they are less in tune with what is important to their employees than executives from larger organizations. Since turnover can be even more crippling to a small organization, these executive misperceptions are extremely important to recognize. The results from this Study reveal that executives from smaller organizations need to better understand the importance of employee benefits to their staff.

To attract and retain employees, it is critical for organizations to understand what drives commitment – particularly among top performing employees – and act on it. Iowa employees responded negatively to their organization’s ability to recognize and reward the best workers and to the availability of advancement opportunities within the organization.

The clear disconnect between employers and their employees in this six-year-old Study should encourage Iowa organizations to review their workplace environment and consider enhancements to their total rewards program.

To learn more, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.

Industry Reports Now Available!

David-P-Lind-Benchmark-2012New and exciting additions to our website continue. With the Lindex scores now published, we also have five new industry reports available for purchase and download!

The 14th annual Iowa Employer Benefits Study© allowed us to generate five industry reports from the following sectors:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Retail
  3. Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate
  4. Healthcare and Social Services
  5. Government and Education

As you might imagine, each industry sector offers benefits that will differ from one another. For example, 70 percent of Retail employers reported offering health insurance, while a larger percentage of the other four industry sectors offer health coverage: Finance/Insurance – 84 percent; Government /Education – 97 percent; Healthcare/Social Services – 80 percent; and Manufacturing – 80 percent.

So what was the average increase in health insurance premiums reported by each sector? The overall average in Iowa (regardless of employer size and industry) was seven percent. Again, this number varies with each sector:

  • Manufacturing – Up 7.0 percent
  • Retail – Up 8.9 percent
  • Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate – Up 7.9 percent
  • Healthcare and Social Services – Up 7.6 percent
  • Government and Education – Up 5.4 percent

The 2012 Study is the very first time that we’ve developed separate industry reports. With 1,206 survey respondents in 2012, we are able to establish enough data from each sector to provide a good statistical report on the benefits offered within these key Iowa sectors.

The benefits offered by employers will vary due to a number of reasons:

  • Size – Larger employers offer more comprehensive benefits than their smaller counterparts.
  • Location – Rural employers tend to offer fewer benefits than Urban/Metro-based employers.
  • Industry – There are factors inherent in each industry that will affect the type and likelihood of certain benefits being offered to employees. One example: Bargained benefits. Public organizations typically have organized labor who will bargain for specific benefits. To a lesser extent, Manufacturing will also have bargained benefits.
  • Culture – This is the ‘wildcard.’ As you know, each organization is unique due to the culture that has evolved over time. This culture is most often reflected in the benefits offered to employees.

It is for these reasons that each organization must determine how competitive they wish their benefit offerings to be.

We are always happy to assist you with any questions that you may have!

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