Employees seek frequent benefits communication

More use of social media, mobile apps needed

Employees are seeking more comprehensive benefits information offered in a variety of ways, according to MetLife’s 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends.

More than one-half (55 per cent) of the 1,400 employees surveyed in the United States do not find their benefits materials to be clear and comprehensive, and only about one in four is satisfied with benefits communications, found the study.

Employees said they would like to see:

•more frequent communications (34 per cent)
•information tailored to life events (39 per cent)
•benefits information on the Internet (44 per cent).

“Effective communications can make the difference between benefits that are understood and valued, and benefits that are overlooked and underutilized,” said Ronald Leopold, vice-president of U.S. business at MetLife. “Communicating effectively is related to improved benefits satisfaction, job satisfaction and loyalty.”

While 70 per cent of the 1,500 employers surveyed said they do not use social media, there is an appetite among younger employees for receiving information in this way. Forty-two per cent of generation Y employees and 38 per cent of generation X employees would be interested in accessing and receiving benefits information through social networking sites (as compared to one in ten baby boomers), found the study.

Similar percentages of generation Y and generation X employees are interested in having information available through mobile devices.

Adoption of social media among employers seems slow, with eight per cent of employers who do not currently use social media planning to implement use in the coming year, and the report identified the following barriers:

•37 per cent of employers said they did not have the resources to implement social media communications
•25 per cent of employers did not think employees would use it
•23 per cent of employers said they had legal concerns
•15 per cent of employers said they would have technical support challenges.

“Efforts do pay off,” said Leopold. “Among employees who said that their employer improved communications over the past year, 65 per cent felt their employer was loyal to them, compared to 33 per cent of employees overall.”

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