Employers are continuing to bet heavily on benefits programs to attract and retain employees, a report released this week by MetLife found. But what that means in practice has evolved in response to generational shifts, as well as changes in the health care and retirement landscape.
“The workplace has changed rather dramatically over the last decade since MetLife began doing its annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends,” said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president at MetLife. “Ten years ago, many Baby Boomers were planning to retire at age 65, Gen Y workers were just entering the workplace, and communication vehicles like Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. However, employers’ top benefits objectives have remained consistent, and the study highlights ways employers can evolve their strategies to cost-effectively attract and retain a talented and productive workforce.”
Among the report’s key findings related to benefits and talent management strategy:
- Employee loyalty is slipping. The percentage of employees who feel a very strong sense of loyalty towards their employer is only 42% — a seven-year low. One-third of all workers surveyed would like to switch employers in 2012, but that number climbs to half of Gen Y employees. Interestingly, the percentage of employers who feel a very strong sense of loyalty towards their employees has risen to a 7-year high.
- Younger workers are more risk-averse about retirement than older workers. 81% of Gen Y employees say they favor stable but somewhat lower returns on their investments, compared with 76% of Baby Boomers. MetLife posited that this may be a function of Gen Y’s lack of confidence in Social Security being around when they retire.
- They’d rather pay for their benefits than lose them. The study found that 62% of Gen Y and Gen X employees are willing to bear more of the cost of their benefits rather than lose them. Responses from employers suggest this will likely be the case.
- Benefits help drive loyalty. More than half of surveyed employees say benefits are an important retention driver. For instance, 61% of employees who are very satisfied with their benefits say they feel a very strong sense of loyalty to their employer, compared with 24% of employees who are very dissatisfied with benefits.
Check out the full report: 10th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends.
What role do you benefits have on your recruiting strategy? What about retention?