New Book Provides Strategies for Maximizing Benefits Investment

June 2, 2009 ( - A new book aims to provide strategies to help employers control costs and maximize their benefits dollars as they strive to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce.

According to The Benefits Edge: Honing the Competitive Value of Employee Benefits authored by Dr. Ronald Leopold, vice president of MetLife Institutional Business, to help drive business results and optimize benefits programs, employers should view their benefits strategies from a fundamentally new perspective. A press release said that based on extensive research, The Benefits Edge “introduces an innovative benefits framework that provides a systematic view to making more strategic benefits decisions.”

The book is designed to help benefits decisionmakers maximize the value of their employee benefits spend by looking at benefits as a strategic investment in the key business goals of employee productivity, retention and attraction. After reading the book, brokers and employers should be better positioned to assess the competitiveness of their benefits programs; reorient the benefits discussion with senior management; and craft actionable solutions for a challenging economy that are sustainable over the long-term, according to the press release.

“The research and industry insights contained in The Benefits Edge indicate that employers cannot maximize the ROI of their benefits offerings if they do not align their business goals with the goals of employees (security, fulfillment and personal relevance). Employee benefits are strategic tools that can enable employers to strengthen connections with their employees, which is important given that good talent is a perennial source of competitive advantage. The book provides a blueprint of a new benefits framework to help employers manage their business for success,” says Leopold.

In the book, the reader is encouraged to assess whether their benefits resources are appropriately allocated across a framework of four fundamental benefits categories.

Each category transforms a traditional approach into a much broader value proposition:

  • Medical coverage is broadened to health and well-being;
  • Retirement accounts are expanded to overall financial security;
  • Time-off policies and voluntary benefits are part of larger life balance needs and fulfillment; and
  • Benefits administration is transformed to the employee experience encompassing coordination, communication and delivery of benefits and education.

The new framework should help employers develop more effective benefits programs by:

  • encouraging healthy lifestyle choices so that employees can be more productive when at work, while health costs are driven down;
  • creating a partnership that allows employees to access the information they need to feel more in control of their personal finances and to make progress in saving for retirement;
  • addressing the diverse challenges employees face when dealing with the demands of both work and family; and
  • recognizing the potential to improve employees' everyday quality of life in ways that will attract workers and build their engagement, loyalty, and productivity.

Through Leopold's research, he found that all employers, regardless of their size, industry and other demographic factors, fall into one of four profiles when it comes to their benefits offerings in comparison to their competition - Traditional, Standard, Flexible, and Progressive. The book contains a worksheet to help employers determine their profiles which MetLife says can help in determining which benefits investments will be most effective given the employer's culture and budget.

"It is important for employers to realize that a greater investment in employee benefits programs does not necessarily mean a greater benefits spend. Supporting voluntary benefits, providing access to educational resources, and improving benefits communications should also be considered part of the 'investment' equation. The actual monetary investment in benefits programs can vary widely among the profiles, so The Benefits Edge offers action plans that can be customized within each profile type," adds Leopold, in the press release.

A complimentary copy of the book can be requested at .