As companies focus largely on maintaining employee productivity and controlling costs when designing its benefit programs, a survey finds benefit plans can also greatly improve employee loyalty.

Wells Fargo Insurance’s survey finds C-suite executives and benefit managers cite managing costs and maintaining employee productivity as the most important goals in both the short (12 to 18 months) and long term (five years).

Additionally, C-suite executives (88%) and benefit managers (85%) agree that benefit programs have the most impact on improving employee loyalty as well as increasing employee engagement and lowering company medical costs.

Read: 8 important benefits plan metrics to consider

“As the benefits landscape continues to evolve, employers face challenges and opportunities as they adapt to new requirements,” says Dan Gowen, national practice leader with Wells Fargo Insurance’s employee benefits national practice.

With 2015 underway, most companies have made key changes to their benefits plans.

Read: The next generation of benefits plans

Seven in 10 companies have made or are in the process of implementing changes for covering spouses as well as to increase the percentage that employees must contribute to premiums. Six in 10 have also changed or are in the process of changing options for the type of plan offered.

While most employers have not yet made changes such as moving from fully-insured to self-funded or using private exchanges, the survey found that those decisions and offering a high deductible plan, are the top initiatives now under consideration.

As companies look ahead, they remain focused on managing costs, wellness offerings and family coverage. With wellness leading the list, C-suite executives and benefit managers will focus on coverage of family members, employee attraction and retention during the next five years.

Read: Making wellness more meaningful

The focus on wellness is very strong with 93% of C-suite executives surveyed anticipating an increase or improvement in the importance of wellness offerings.

“Employers who take a more coordinated approach to integrating wellness programs with their existing employee benefits and productivity solutions will be well-positioned to achieve growth and cost savings,” Gowen adds.

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Bill Fotsch:

While benefits programs can positively influence employee loyalty, a much more powerful influence on employee loyalty is trust. Employee trust and consequent engagement / loyalty can be accomplished by making the economics of the business transparent and involving all employees to understand, improve and participate in the economics of the business.

Saturday, February 07 at 9:06 am | Reply

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