About three-quarters (78 per cent) of U.S. employers said they’re more focused on the quality of health care over cost management when making decisions about their benefits plan amid the current war for talent acquisition and retention, according to a new survey by Artemis Health Inc.

The survey, which polled more than 300 U.S. human resources and benefits leaders, found 75 per cent of respondents base their benefits decisions on employee feedback, up 33 per cent since 2019. And a quarter (23 per cent) said they’re increasing their focus on fighting employee attrition.

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More than half (53 per cent) of survey respondents said physical health investment — including wellness plans and health insurance — was the most important component of a competitive, holistic benefits package, followed by support for long-term financial health (47 per cent) and emotional or mental-health support (44 per cent).

When asked to rank the challenges they face in finding and administering new benefits programs, the top hurdles cited were identifying new programs (27 per cent) and measuring and managing new programs (23 per cent).

Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) said their benefits program’s performance was keeping pace with competitors, while 30 per cent said they’re ahead of the curve. The latter group was more likely to focus on the quality of health care over cost.

More than half (53 per cent) of respondents said they feel “very successful” in using non-traditional benefits data — such as financial data, wellness programs and diversity, equity and inclusion statistics — to guide benefits decisions. And 68 per cent said budget constraints were the top obstacle stopping them from using data in their benefits decisions.

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