MetLife Uncovers Four Benefits Profiles of Employers

December 9, 2008 ( - MetLife vice president Ronald Leopold, M.D. unveiled proprietary research that suggests employers fall within four key profile types when it comes to workplace benefits investments and strategies.

A MetLife announcement said that understanding their profile can help employers maximize the return on their benefits investment. “The four employer benefits profiles were developed by examining market research data on employer attitudes about benefits business objectives and strategies focusing on funding and choice in benefits,” the announcement said.

MetLife’s Four Employer Profiles are:

  • “Traditional” – Employers that take a “traditional” approach to benefits (17% of employers) demonstrate a commitment to the legacy of employee benefits. Health insurance and retirement plans are the cornerstones of their programs, and they tend to fund more of these core benefits than other companies do. While they may also offer voluntary benefits, these employers do not appear to focus heavily on matching those benefits with the specific needs of their employee populations or delivering or communicating about them in a targeted way.
  • “Standard” – Employers that take a “standard” approach to benefits (28% of employers) recognize the essential nature of health insurance and retirement plans. However, these employers often do not fully fund these benefits. They sometimes serve as a channel through which employees can gain access to group rates on a voluntary basis.
  • “Flexible” – Employers that take a “flexible” approach to benefits (23% of employers) are very aware of their competition (those they hire against and compete against in the marketplace). They seem to consider the tradeoff between offering choices and shifting costs and seem to support a wider range of benefits program through self-directed education, communications, and decision support tools.
  • “Progressive” – Employers with a “progressive” approach to benefits (32% of employers) believe that the richness and diversity of their benefits platform provides a competitive advantage. They seem focused on meeting the diverse needs of their workforce, and provide more benefits beyond basic health and welfare offerings. They are among the first employers to offer benefits and programs that address work/life balance.

“Understanding a company’s place on the benefits landscape can not only help an employer define its current approach to benefits, but also help to inform future benefits strategies that will help to achieve business objectives. The ideas that we’re exploring will be pivotal to re-crafting benefits strategies to meet the business needs of a new economy,” said Dr. Leopold, according to the announcement.

The four employer types were developed based on research Dr. Leopold has completed for his book on the future of employee benefits, “The Benefits Edge: Honing the Competitive Value of Employee Benefits,” which is anticipated for release in spring 2009.