Employers Could Improve Benefits Education

August 13, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers continue to spend too little time and fewer resources for helping employees understand their employee benefits, a survey from Unum shows.

Twenty-eight percent of employees who were asked to review their benefits in the past year said the benefits education provided by their employers is fair or poor. Only half of those employees said they received printed information or brochures, down from 70% in 2008.  

Just over one-third of those employees were offered a chance to attend an information and question-and-answer session about benefits, down from 52% in 2008. The percentage of employees who had access to a toll-free number to speak with a benefits adviser dropped sharply, to 29% in 2011 from 47% in 2008.  

Unum’s fourth annual survey of American workers also shows a high correlation between effective benefits education and a workplace satisfaction.  

More than eight in 10 (82%) employees who rated their benefits education highly also rated the employer an excellent or very good place to work. Conversely, only 27% of employees who rated their benefits education as fair or poor also said their employer was an excellent or very good place to work.  

Seventy-nine percent of those who rated their benefits education highly said they would choose to stay with their current employer even if they were offered the same pay and benefits elsewhere.  

Conducted online by Harris Interactive, the survey polled more than 1,100 employed adults following the 2011 benefits enrollment period.