Engage employees with benefits education

Employee morale is down, but benefits education can be an effective way to boost workplace satisfaction, says a recent survey by U.S.-based benefits provider Unum.

The survey of 1,712 working adults found that 63% of employees think their employer values their work, down from 70% in 2008, and that even fewer, 56%, feel that their employer cares about their well-being—a 7-point drop from 2008.

“In this difficult economic environment, there may be many reasons employee morale has not bounced back,” says Bill Dalicandro, vice president at Unum. However, he adds, offering benefits education programs can help boost employee engagement with minimal costs.

Unfortunately, many employers are failing to include education as part of their benefits programs. The survey found that:

  • nearly one-third of employees feel the benefits education provided by their employers is insufficient;
  • only half of employees said they received printed information or brochures, down from 70% in 2008;
  • just over a third of employees were offered a chance to attend an information and question-and-answer session about benefits, down from 52% in 2008; and
  • the percentage of employees who had access to online materials fell from 51% in 2008 to 36% in 2010.

However, employers who were rated as having strong benefits education programs were also more likely to demonstrate positive employee engagement. Eighty percent of employees who rated their benefits education highly also rated the employer as an excellent or very good place to work, and 77% said they would stay with their current employer, even if they were offered the same pay and benefits elsewhere.

Conversely, only 31% of employees who rated their benefits education poorly also said their employer was an excellent or very good place to work.

“People are the lifeblood of any successful business, and in this challenging economy employers need to work even harder to demonstrate their concern for employees and their well-being,” says Dalicandro. “Everyone benefits when they do.”