CFOs Value Benefit Plans

December 10, 2002 ( - Ninety-three percent of Chief Financial Officers (CFO) report a large correlation between the quality of their companies' health benefits and the strength of the bottom line, according to a survey conducted by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI).

CFOs report the most important benefit program to offer is prescription drug benefit management.   More than 8 out of 10 CFOs rate a pharmacy benefit as “important,” “very important” or “crucial” to their productivity goals, with 6 out of 10 believing such a program reduces health-related costs.   CFOs also recognize the importance of other benefit programs, such as wellness, employee assistance programs, return/stay-at-work incentives and disease management.

However, the survey of 269 senior financial executives found CFOs might have difficulty measuring the full impact of healthcare benefits on productivity and profits, because criteria used to evaluate benefit programs are not expressed in financial performance terms.


“There is an important disconnect between the measures used to evaluate benefits programs and those used by CFOs for financial performance,” notes Thomas Parry, President of IBI. “By their nature, financial executives respond to the numbers. Until benefits managers express program performance in financial terms, few CFOs will understand the full contribution of managing healthcare for absence and disability management, disease management and wellness programs to the bottom line.”

The financials were further reflected as CFOs were also asked to identify the core roles of plan providers.   Not surprisingly, CFOs are looking for providers to help on the bottom line, with 55% report minimize total medical and absence costs as the core role of plan providers.   Additionally, CFOs are expecting providers to provide core roles in medical cost reduction (52%), employee return-to-work (42%) and employee performance (21%)

The survey also looked at what CFOs consider to be their top workforce challenges.   CFOs report those challenges as:

  • 69% employee attraction
  • 68% employee retention
  • 55% employee motivation
  • 49% training
  • 24% absence management

When asked what is the most important lure to attract top talent, CFOs report attractive compensation as the most effective strategy, followed by performance-based compensation, attractive benefits and training and advancement.

The research was designed in collaboration with CFO Research Services, a unit of CFO Magazine, whose participation was funded by Schering Plough Corporation, a worldwide research-based pharmaceutical company and member of IBI’s Board of Directors.