Employees Want Kicked up Benefits Communications

March 28, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employees have disparate preferences when it comes to benefits communications, indicating a need for a multi-faceted approach, according to MetLife’s 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends.

More than half (55%) of all employees do not find their benefits materials to be clear and comprehensive, and only about one in four is satisfied with his/her benefits communications. According to a press release, employees say they would like to see:  

  • more frequent communications (34%);  
  • information tailored to life events (39%); and  
  • benefits information on the internet (44%).  


While 70% of employers say they do not use social media, there is an appetite among younger employees for receiving information in this way. The study found that 42% of Gen Y employees and 38% of Gen X employees would be interested in accessing/receiving benefits information through social networking sites (as compared to one in ten Baby Boomers).   

Similar percentages of Gen Y and Gen X employees are interested in having information available through mobile devices. Although social media use among employers seems slow in adoption – only 8% of employers who do not currently use social media plan to implement use in the coming year – barriers seem minimal.   

The study found:  

  • 37% of employers said they did not have the resources to implement social media communications;  
  • 25% of employers did not think employees would use it;  
  • 23% of employers said they had legal concerns; and  
  • 15% of employers said they would have technical support challenges.  


“While a third of employers in the study said that changing employee communications is simply not a current priority, effective communications can make the difference between benefits that are understood and valued, and benefits that are overlooked and underutilized. Communicating effectively is related to improved benefits satisfaction, job satisfaction and loyalty,” said Ronald S. Leopold, vice president, U.S. Business, MetLife.  “Efforts do pay off. Among employees who said that their employer improved communications over the past year, 65% felt their employer was loyal to them, compared to 33% of employees overall.”

Employees Want General Financial Help Too  

The 9th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends found employees are clamoring for help with finances – 52% report being interested in receiving financial advice and guidance through the workplace, and this increases to 81% among those who acknowledge that financial concerns have impacted their workplace attendance or productivity.   

The stress of struggling with financial concerns can take a physical toll on employees. The study shows that employees who say they are not in control of their finances are more likely to report poor health. For instance, 68% of employees who say they are in very good or excellent health say they are also in control of their finances, compared to just 7% of employees in fair or poor health.   

The 9th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends is available at http://www.metlife.com/benefitstrends.