July 19, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – MetLife has announced the availability of a new resource designed to equip small business employers and brokers with practical benefits strategies to help motivate and retain their workforce while closely managing costs.
A new study report highlights the connection found between employees’ benefits satisfaction and job satisfaction and addresses the implications given that only about one-third of small business workers (those working for employers with fewer than 500 employees) say they are very satisfied with their benefits offerings and only about half say they are very satisfied with their current job. According to MetLife’s 8th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, 31% of employees at smaller companies agree that benefits are a very important reason why they remain with their employers.
Building A Better Benefits Program Without Breaking The Budget: Five Practical Steps Every Small Business Should Consider outlines steps that small business owners can take to strengthen their non-medical benefits program and optimize benefits value:
- Manage costs for dental, disability and life insurance while increasing employee loyalty. Many small business owners underestimate the value that their employees place on non-medical benefits like dental, disability and life insurance. While 59% of small business employees say these benefits contribute to their feelings of employer loyalty, only 34% of employers recognize this. The report outlines ways that employers can control their budgets while still offering benefits that drive loyalty.
- Deliver budget-conscious wellness programs to aid productivity and help control medical costs. While 61% of larger employers offer wellness programs, just 22% of small companies offer the programs. However, 67% of small businesses believe wellness programs are effective at reducing medical costs. Low-cost options can be implemented by small businesses to help create a culture of health and control long-term costs.
- Help employees become financially secure and support productivity goals at the same time. About one in five small business employees admits that in the last 12 months, he/she has taken unexpected time off to deal with a financial problem or taken more time than should be spent at work to deal with personal financial issues. In fact, 64% of small businesses strongly believe that employees’ productivity is impacted when they are worried about personal financial matters. Small businesses can consider tapping into local financial institutions and services to provide retirement and/or financial planning options during work hours, or provide access to Web-based financial resources for their employees.
- Simplify benefits communications for greater benefits effectiveness. Only one in five small business employees believes that his/her employers’ benefits communications effectively educate the employee about their benefits programs. The report gives best practices for benefits communication including using multiple channels, removing jargon, and making messages relevant to key life events or life stages.
- Leverage small business workplace advantages for increased worker loyalty. The MetLife Study found a loyalty gap in that nearly two-thirds of small businesses say they feel very loyal toward their employees but only about one-third of employees feel their employers have that strong sense of loyalty.
The small business supplement to MetLife’s 8th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study is available at metlife.com/sbtrends2010.