Employees less confident in employers’ ability to provide benefits

Some employees are seeing less value in their benefits and are less confident in their employers’ ability to provide them, according to a new survey by the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

The survey polled U.S. workers in March 2020 and again in June. In March, 80 per cent of survey respondents said they value the insurance benefits offered by their employers, while that percentage dropped to 73 per cent in June.

Further, in March, 61 per cent of employees said they think their employer is making the best decisions about the benefits they make available, which dropped to 55 per cent in June. In the first wave of polling, 56 per cent of employees said their benefits were above average compared to what’s offered by other employers in their industries, but it dropped to 44 per cent in the second wave.

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“Now is the perfect time for employers to address employees’ changing attitudes about benefits,” said Jonathan Bennett, head of group benefits at Hartford, in a press release. “As employee familiarity with benefits also declined, our research uncovered an opportunity for employers to increase trust by focusing more on communication, including education about their available benefits and what they cover. This is going to be crucial as annual benefits enrolment quickly shifts from an in-person experience to a more virtual one.”

While employee confidence may be waning, the survey found increased interest in some specific benefits. Between the two periods of polling, paid time off to volunteer saw a significant jump (20 per cent to 42 per cent). Paid time off in general also garnered more interest (31 per cent to 52 per cent), as did employee assistance programs (38 per cent to 56 per cent), paid sabbaticals (21 per cent to 38 per cent), critical illness insurance (36 per cent to 50 per cent), student loan repayment plans (27 per cent to 38 per cent), behavioural and mental-health services (42 per cent to 51 per cent), wellness benefits (42 per cent to 51 per cent) and pet insurance (22 per cent to 29 per cent).

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