Newest MetLife Data Provides At-A-Glance Benchmarking Insights Into Competitive Benefits Landscape
MetLife's Employee Benefits Benchmarking Report helps brokers and advisers easily compare--or benchmark--benefits objectives and strategies, as well as other benefits-related information by industry, company size, geographic region, employee job type (executive, white-collar, blue-collar) and employee life stage. By providing five different "slices," or ways, to look at the information, the Benchmarking Report can help advisers more easily determine the most effective way for their clients to optimize the value of their benefits programs.
The MetLife Employee Benefits Benchmarking Report and companion online Benchmarking Tool can provide brokers and advisers the perfect jump start when discussing benefits strategy planning with current or potential clients. The way that the data is presented allows for a more customized and consultative conversation.
"Benefits advisers really want a clear understanding of the practices and product offerings of their clients' peers, so they can help create an effective retention strategy," says Randy Stram, vice president, MetLife Institutional Business. "Our benchmarking data gives them that data."
The MetLife Report facilitates additional analysis and customization by using the company's innovative online Benchmarking Tool. Benefits advisers can access the MetLife Benchmarking Tool on the Web at whymetlife.com/brokerbenchmark.
Take, for example, the different employee benefits preferences by occupation. While white-collar and blue-collar workers both said that medical coverage was their most important benefit, white-collar employees ranked vacation as the second most important benefit and blue-collar workers named prescription drug coverage. Vacation was ranked No. 5 in importance by blue-collar workers. Blue-collar workers were also about twice as interested in long-term-care insurance than white-collar employees.
"It's pretty clear, people with different occupations have different attitudes regarding benefits," Stram says. "Employers can use this data to build a better benefits strategy, one that takes these differences into account."
When it comes to an employer's benefits strategies, clearly size can make a difference. For example, while executive benefits amounted to only 4 percent of benefits spending for employers between 2 to 49 employees, that number jumped to 12 percent with companies with 10,000 to 24,999 employees. Also, Stram says, breadth of benefits tended to increase as the companies move up the size ladder, but smaller companies were more likely to say that the benefits they offer were chosen because of their focus on work/life balance.
The MetLife data also compares and contrasts benefits findings and employee perceptions by industry. There can be a significant disparity between certain industries: only 19 percent of retail employees reported being satisfied with their benefits, while 40 percent of employees in manufacturing were satisfied and 49 percent of those employees in finance and real estate agreed.
"This data can help benefits advisers, for example, who are working with retail clients demonstrate the need to include a tailored, effective communications strategy which can help ensure employees are realizing the potential value of their benefits programs," he says.
A person's life stage is also a variable that influences his or her attitude toward benefits plans and employers. The MetLife Benchmarking data helps advisers provide their clients with insights into some key demographics comprising their employee populations. For example, 44 percent of young families with children under the age of six reported being worried about benefits affordability over the next five years, but other demographic groups were less concerned. Yet, 49 percent of young families were very satisfied with benefits, but only 35 percent of singles voiced similar satisfaction.
"Again, this is where benefits advisers can help clients create a tailored communications plan by life stage, which also can significantly increase employee satisfaction and the perceived value of benefit offerings," Stram says.
Regional differences become readily apparent with the benchmarking data. "It's important to understand the regional variations at play just as it is important to take into account variations by industry. That's because potential new hires may prefer to change the industry in which they work rather than move their families to a new city or region," adds Stram.
"Insights into employee mindsets and priorities could prove a significant competitive advantage as the workforce ages and talented employees become more difficult to attract and retain," he says. "Brokers must emphasize that 'one size does not fit all' when it comes to benefits plans. It also pays to know what the client's competition is doing."
To learn more about the MetLife Employee Benefits Benchmarking Report, or to access the MetLife Benchmarking Tool, visit whymetlife.com/brokerbenchmark.
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June 12, 2007
Copyright 2007© LRP Publications