MetLife's Enhanced Benchmarking Tool Can Deliver Valuable Data to Use in Helping Employers Build a Winning Benefits Package
According to data from MetLife's recently released 2008 Benefits Benchmarking Tool, while dental insurance is the fifth most important benefit among all employees, it is the second most important benefit among young singles, slightly ahead of time away from the job.
When you add in the fact (also gleaned from the Benefits Benchmarking Tool) that younger workers are more professionally mobile--40 percent of Gen Y workers are planning to move on to other employers in the next 18 months (compared to 23 percent of Baby Boomers)--knowing what benefits appeal to those younger employees could prove critical in attracting and retaining that particular talent segment.
The point is, says Anthony J. Nugent, senior vice president, MetLife Employee Benefits Sales, for benefits brokers and trusted advisors, being able to access the best possible benefits preference data can go a long way in helping an employer/client craft the most attractive benefits plan available for a range of employees.
"Employee benefits programs can serve as strategic differentiators because they can help contribute to employee loyalty and retention goals," says Nugent, adding that the enhanced MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool is available for use at no cost at whymetlife.com/broker/benchmark.
"Benefits brokers and trusted advisors who are well informed of the benefits trends across various industries, geographies and demographics are much better positioned to develop competitive and effective benefits programs to attain their clients' business objectives."
According to Nugent, the enhanced 2008 Benefits Benchmarking Tool provides a way to quickly compare and contrast relevant benefits offerings and objectives through customized queries along 35 topic areas. It also adds a number of additional demographic segment data that can deliver insights based on an employee's household income, generation and life stage, and offer much deeper looks into topical subject areas such as wellness programs and retiree benefits.
"The tool allows users to generate detailed reports among topics, demographics and segmentations of interest to their unique situations as well as provides easy-to-read snapshots of the specific data requested," he explains. "The topics examined include benefits offerings, benefits objectives and strategies; communications and decision making; employee retention and loyalty goals; retirement planning and the aging workforce; and health and wellness."
For example, by analyzing the data among different characteristics, the Benefits Benchmarking Tool reveals that manufacturing and education employer sectors, at 61 percent, are the two most likely sectors to provide employee benefits Web sites. For employers across all sectors, that number is 53 percent. Interestingly, legal, engineering and accounting, and retail employers are below the rest of the population, with only 41 percent providing benefits Web sites to employees.
Why the gap? Manufacturing and education employers cite cost control as their top benefits objective, and one can see how online capabilities could be a way to streamline operations. Conversely, legal, engineering, accounting and retail employers report employee retention as their primary benefits objective.
"The good news is employee benefits Web sites can be strategically designed to help achieve both cost control and retention objectives," Nugent says.
In another critical area, retirement planning, the Benefits Benchmarking Tool shows that retirement messaging can be targeted to a specific workplace demographic. For example, messaging to Gen Y employees can focus on the need to start planning for retirement, since the majority of young workers indicate they have no retirement goal or haven't started retirement planning.
Nugent explains that MetLife's Benefits Benchmarking Tool uses underlying data from both the 6th annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends and the MetLife 2008 Open Enrollment Study. The MetLife Employee Benefits Trends Study is a comprehensive survey conducted during the third quarter of 2007. It consists of two distinct studies fielded by GfK Custom Research North America.
The employer survey comprised 1,652 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies spanning a broad range of industries, sizes and geographic locations. The employee survey polled 1,380 full-time employees, age 21 and over, at companies with at least two employees.
The MetLife 2008 Open Enrollment Study includes results from a survey of 1,204 employees, conducted online the first quarter of 2008. Also fielded by GfK Custom Research North America, the survey is based on responses from a broad cross section of employees, age 21 and older, who are working full-time for a company offering benefits and have at least some say in benefits decision-making for their household.
"Those two comprehensive studies populate the MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool with a tremendous amount of data," Nugent says. "Benefits brokers and consultants have a great opportunity to enhance their value proposition with this easy-to-use, complimentary online resource. It offers powerful insights into benefits solutions that can be tailored for each client as the data can be sliced, examined, compared and contrasted among so many topics and variables."
You can explore MetLife's Benefits Benchmarking Tool at whymetlife.com/brokerbenchmark.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
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August 12, 2008
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