Managing costs is the top benefits priority for American employers in 2018, according to an annual survey by global insurance brokerage Hub International Ltd.

The survey, which polled 300 American employee benefits professionals, found helping employees make more informed benefits decisions (44 per cent) and improving wellness and productivity (32 per cent) also ranked highly on employer’s lists of priorities.

Read: Why leaping to save on benefits premiums may cost employers

Despite calling benefits costs a priority, 49 per cent of respondents don’t intend to implement any cost-management programs in the next 12 to 18 months, while 54 per cent believe they’re doing all they reasonably can to control rising costs.

Where employers are implementing cost-management strategies, these include health plans with high deductibles (14 per cent), multiple plan options (13 per cent), telemedicine (10 per cent) and voluntary benefits (eight per cent).

The survey also found 46 per cent of employers believe technology upgrades would help reduce their workload, while 34 per cent said they face challenges in convincing senior management to invest in these upgrades.

Interestingly, smaller organizations seem to be focusing less on technology than larger employers. Among small companies, just four per cent said they need better technology to reduce their human resources workloads. That compares to 18 per cent for mid-size companies and 27 per cent for large companies.

Read: Cost savings top driver for benefits technology use: report

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of survey respondents cited improving employee health and financial wellness as a top priority in 2018. Among employers that offer a wellness program, 51 per cent of respondents ranked employee morale as their most improved metric since implementation, followed by employee stress reduction (32 per cent), employee productivity (32 per cent), employee retention (29 per cent) and benefits and drug claims (28 per cent).

In the same group, one in four indicate their wellness or health management strategies are delivering a return on investment.

Read: Successful wellness programs involve leadership, stress management: report

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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