Employees Appreciate Employer Benefits, Despite Facing Financial Stress

An EBRI and Greenwald Research study found 47% of workers reported being extremely or very satisfied with their benefits package.

Workers are increasingly satisfied with their employer-provided benefits, even as some stress about their financial futures.

That’s what the “Workplace Wellness Study” conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and independent research firm Greenwald Research found. The firms also reported that while nearly half of employees are concerned about finances, 42% would not trade these benefits for wages.

The findings come at a time when more employers are emphasizing total well-being, including financial and health wellness in the workforce, even as many employees say the changes haven’t affected them. While 28% of workers say their employer’s efforts to improve their overall well-being has increased, 61% say it remains the same.

Other findings were more positive for employers. Forty-eight percent of employees say their employer has done an excellent or very good job at helping them improve their physical well-being, and 42% have said the same about their emotional and financial well-being. “Seven in 10 employees believe employees need their employer’s help to be healthy and financially secure, and nearly as many feel the employer has a responsibility to ensure the health and financial security of employees,” said Lisa Greenwald, CEO of Greenwald Research, in a press release.

Additionally, the findings show that many employees are satisfied with their employer’s efforts on retirement savings and health insurance. Forty-seven percent of workers reported being extremely or very satisfied with their benefits package. Specifically, 58% are satisfied with their employment-based retirement savings plan while 54% are happy with their health insurance plan.

As the pandemic has shown the importance of accessibility to and affordability of health care, more workers say they value the benefit. In fact, the study found access to health insurance contributes most to employees’ feelings of financial security. Four in ten of workers cite life insurance, financial wellness and benefits such as accident, critical illness and disability insurance as contributing a lot to their financial security.

The study also focused on open enrollment during COVID-19, as more employers digitize their open-enrollment period. For this year’s process, many employees are interested in using a portal for selecting benefits, an online benefits decisionmaking tool and online brochures. Four in ten workers say they want more information on open enrollment than they have received in prior seasons, and 55% want more information than what they’ve received from employers, according to the study.

Workers are also seeking education and advice from third-party benefit advisers or online programs on how to invest money in their retirement plans and on how much they should be saving for retirement. Nine in 10 employees surveyed said they are likely to use benefit advice from an online decisionmaking tool, and eight in 10 said they would be likely to meet with a benefits adviser for selection guidance.

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