Calendar 2017. Vector design stationery template.

Sponsored by MetLife

By Rieva Lesonsky

With 2017 on the horizon, have you taken time to plan your employee benefits offerings? The New Year always brings with it resolutions for self-improvement. That makes now the perfect time to consider how employee benefits can help your employees improve their financial and physical well-being—and help your business improve employee retention, productivity and loyalty.

Financial Fears

More than eight years after the Great Recession began, many of America’s workers remain in a climate of financial uncertainty. Fewer than half of employees in MetLife’s 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study feel they are in control of their finances—a 15 percent increase from just a few years ago. More than half (53 percent) are concerned about meeting their monthly living expenses, while 55 percent worry about having enough money for out-of-pocket medical costs their insurance doesn’t cover.

These financial worries negatively affect employees’ effectiveness on the job. Three-fourths (77 percent) of employees surveyed say they are less productive at work when they’re worried about personal financial problems. Health issues or concerns about obtaining necessary healthcare can also impact employee productivity.

Relying on Employers

Employees are looking to their employers to help them achieve their financial goals and enhance financial security. Seventy-one percent of employees think of work as the foundation of their financial safety nets. Sixty-two percent of employees look to their employers for assistance in achieving financial security through employee benefits. And 37 percent of employees believe their employers have responsibility to help them ensure adequate retirement savings, up from 32 percent in the previous year’s survey.

Employee finances are closely connected with employee health. Concerns about issues such as unexpected healthcare expenses can hinder employees’ performances. But when employees feel in control of their finances, MetLife reports, they are less likely to postpone preventive medical and dental care. This improves employees’ physical health and workplace effectiveness. At the same time, it keeps employers’ insurance costs down by reducing healthcare claims for major procedures.

Healthy, Wealthy and Loyal

More than half (52 percent) of employees in MetLife’s survey are satisfied with their current jobs, and 45 percent expect to stay with the same employer for at least 12 months. By easing employees’ financial and physical concerns, employee benefits can play a key role in job satisfaction and loyalty. Four in 10 employees say retirement benefits are a key reason to stay with an employer.

Beyond basic healthcare benefits, employers can further boost employee satisfaction and loyalty by offering non-medical benefits that small business employees consider “must-haves,” according to MetLife’s 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study. Those include dental, life insurance, vision as well as short-term and long-term disability insurance – all of which can help enhance employees’ financial security.

The more benefits you can offer to help employees with financial and physical well-being, the more satisfied your employees will be. At companies that offer five or more employee benefits, workers are 35 percent more likely to stay, reports the 13th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study. Seven in 10 employees say having benefits customized to their needs would make them more loyal to their employers.

New Year’s Resolutions

Financial well-being has a major impact on employee health, productivity and satisfaction. Incorporating benefits to enhance both financial wellness and physical wellness can make your employees happier, healthier and more productive.

To make 2017 your and your employees’ best year ever, resolve to:

  • Provide coverage including both medical and non-medical benefits so that employees of all ages have enough coverage to give them peace of mind.
  • Tap into the expertise of benefits brokers and consultants to determine the right mix of benefits for your company.
  • Work with your benefits experts to educate your employees about their benefits so they can fully appreciate and implement the benefits your company offers.

As your planning for 2017, check out MetLife’s infographic on “The Benefits of Benefits for Small Businesses” here.