According to MetLife’s 14th annual “U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study,” employees—Millennials, in particular—would like help from employers when it comes to financial concerns.
Forty-four percent of Millennials said they would like their employer to help them solve financial issues, compared with only 20% of Baby Boomers. Three-fourths of Millennials also said employers have a responsibility for the financial well-being of their workers.
The responses reflect a growing interest from employees in having workplace benefits to help with financial security. Sixty-two percent of employees said they look to their employer for more help in achieving financial security through employee benefits, compared with 49% in 2011.
“While it’s common knowledge that Millennials are often more motivated by meaningful work than the size of their paycheck, our study shows that Millennials—and all employees—are looking to the workplace for guidance and support to achieve financial security,” says Todd Katz, executive vice president of Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits at MetLife. “With only 44% of employees feeling in control of their finances, employers today have a unique opportunity to drive loyalty and retention by empowering employees to make informed benefits decisions.”
Employers can educate employees about traditional and voluntary benefits and how they can address financial concerns. The study found that Millennials have little understanding about life insurance (only 52% understood it), compared with 69% of Baby Boomers. Only 38% of Millennials understood long-term disability insurance, compared with 57% of Boomers. Employees are also unclear about the financial value of voluntary benefits, MetLife’s survey found, with only 47% of employees agreeing that nonmedical benefits can help them limit out-of-pocket medical expenses.
To curb confusion about benefits, employers can create optimal enrollment conditions, to help employees make sound decisions. The study found that strong communication is key to employee confidence during benefits selection, and one-on-one consultations are particularly helpful. Sixty-eight percent of Millennials value one-on-one consultations with a non-sales benefits expert, compared with 62% of Generation X and 57% of Boomers.
“Helping employees to understand the value of their benefits through engaging communications is critical for both the employee and the workplace,” Katz says. “If employees fully understand their benefits options, they’ll make better purchasing decisions and in turn, decrease their financial stress.”