HR Leaders Say Recession Brought Benefit Changes

April 19, 2011 ( – In the past two years, nearly 40% of human resources leaders saw changes in their company's medical benefits plan design or carrier, according to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and commissioned by Unum.

During 2009 and the first half of 2010, 35% of respondents saw a reduction in staff of more than 10% at their companies, and more than one in four reported a reduction in human resources staff. Thirty-six percent indicated they saw a shift of benefits costs from employer to employee.   

According to a press release, among those who had not already experienced benefit changes in the first half of 2010, 18% expected a change in their company’s medical benefits plan design or carrier in the second half of the year, and 22% predicted benefits costs would shift from employer to employee.   

Top challenges now and in the coming years are managing benefit costs, boosting employee engagement and retaining quality employees, survey respondents said.   

Nearly 80% said being a company that cares about the well-being of employees is very important to attracting and retaining a quality workforce, and nearly 80% agreed that employees are most productive when they feel financially secure.   

The survey report is here.