Employer Recession Efforts Hurt Employee Loyalty

March 28, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - As the U.S. economic outlook continues to improve, employee loyalty is on the decline, according to MetLife’s 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends.

Forty-seven percent of employees report feeling very strong loyalty to their employer, down from 59% just three years ago. However, according to a press release, employers believe their employees feel the same loyalty toward them today as they did several years ago; about half (51%) of surveyed employers say they believe their employees have very strong loyalty to them, and half believed the same in 2008.   

While employers of all sizes saw productivity gains over the past 12 months, proving that many were able to “do more with less,” this short-term gain may have come at the expense of employee loyalty, the press release noted. While 43% of larger employers (with 500 or more employees) and 38% of smaller employers (with fewer than 500 employees) reported productivity gains in 2010, more than one-third (36%) of employees hope to work for a different employer in the next 12 months.   

The study found that employees who report that they are very satisfied with their workplace benefits are about three times as likely to indicate that they are highly satisfied with their current job and feel more loyal toward their employer compared with those who are very dissatisfied with the benefits program. Among employees who are highly satisfied with their benefits, 76% report being satisfied with their jobs and 71% report feeling loyal to their employers, compared to only 24% and 25%, respectively, for employees who are very dissatisfied with their benefits.   

Salary and wages continue to be the most important drivers of employee loyalty, but there is significant lack of awareness of how other benefits are also driving loyalty. For example, while 38% of surveyed employers believe retirement benefits are important loyalty drivers, 64% of surveyed employees say they are. Similarly, 37% of employers said non-medical benefits such as dental, disability and life insurance are important factors in employee loyalty, while 59% of employees said they are.   

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