‘People-like-me’ approach popular for benefits

Employees want benefits to match their life stage

Six out of 10 employees in the U.S. would like employers to suggest benefits appropriate for someone in their life stage, according to the 2007 Open Enrollment Trends survey of 1,203 respondents by MetLife of New York.

This signals a shift from the one-size-fits-all approach to benefits programs, said Bill Mullaney, president of MetLife’s institutional business.

“As employees shoulder more and more responsibility for selecting and funding their own benefits and as the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, only half of employees feel that their benefits meet their needs completely.”

One-in-five (22 per cent) say guidelines or instructions for “people like me” would improve their overall open-enrolment experience. While open enrolment is when most employees make their biggest financial decisions for their benefits plans, they spend only about 30 minutes on the process and often remain with the prior year’s benefits, he said.

Of those who would like employers to suggest benefits based on their life stage, 84 per cent say they are willing to share personal information (such as age, marital status, number of children or income) with their benefits manager to allow the company’s insurer or benefits provider to offer customized guidance.

Only one-half say they actually read the entire open-enrolment package (47 per cent of men and 56 per cent of women). And younger singles are the least likely (42 per cent) to say their benefits meet their life-stage needs while new families are the most likely (57 per cent).

Sarah Dobson is editor of Canadian Compensation & Benefits Reporter, a sister publication to Canadian HR Reporter. For more information, visit www.hrreporter.com/ccbr.

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