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  The Herman Trend Alert

May 25, 2016

The Power of Benefits

In the War for Talent, employee benefits have great power. A recent report from the insurance company Aflac, details just how powerful a role benefits play in attracting and retaining good people. The 2016 Aflac WorkForces Report is a study of employee benefits that examined benefits trends, and attitudes.

Employers are in for a bumpy ride
As the economy has improved, unemployment levels have fallen. A by-product of this improvement is the growing number of jobs. As more Millennials and their successors, Generation Z, enter the workforce, the numbers in Aflac's report reflect that employers can expect a certain amount of turnover. Almost half of all employees (47 percent) were likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months and 31 percent were extremely or very likely.

Top of mind: health, but money, too
Though many employees have resolved to "eat healthier and exercise more", they also have another pressing issue of concern. After the issues of personal health, "Manage my finances betterÓ was the most frequently named 2016 New YearŐs resolution in the study. Plus, if they had a little extra cash, employees most often said they would "use it to pay bills or reduce debt". This financial stress affects at least 25 percent of the workforce and costs employers billions of dollars. (In a subsequent Herman Trend Alert, we will tell you about a brand new program that will help employers respond to this need.)

More fascinating facts for employers to consider
Almost two-thirds, (60 percent) of employees polled were likely to take a job with lower pay but better benefits. Over 2 in 5 employees (42 percent) said improving their benefits package was one thing their employers could do to keep them in their jobs; also, a better benefits package was mentioned by a higher proportion than those that mentioned a promotion. Finally, and this is the most startling of their stats: "16 percent have left a job or turned down a job in the last 12 months due to the benefits offered".

A high correlation between benefits and job satisfaction
Although there appears to be a disconnect between benefits employers are offering and the benefits employees want and need. Compared to those who aren't satisfied, employees who are satisfied with their benefits are much more likely to be satisfied with their jobs (96 percent vs. 68 percent) and less likely to be looking for a job in the next 12 months (46 percent vs. 57 percent).

Benefits and the future
Expect to see a return to what used to be called "cafeteria style" benefits, where employees were given an annual lump sum and allowed to used that to allocate the money to the benefits they wanted. Wise employers will look at these numbers and take action to better match their offerings to what their employees want and need; this action will reap bottomline rewards.


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