To Thrive, Employers Must Support Workers Inside and Outside of the Workplace

“If employers expect their organizations to thrive, they not only need to rethink the experiences they are creating for employees inside the workplace, but also how they are supporting employees outside of it.”

That’s the core takeaway from page one of MetLife’s latest annual employee benefits trends report, “Thriving in the New Work-Life World,” which is filled with insights employers can use to attract, engage, and retain the best talent.

The report makes clear that work and life are blending more than ever before and, as a result, workers are looking to employers to help them cope. “Employees need an ally,” say the researchers, “and employers can play this role by creating a workplace that not only recognizes employees holistically, but supports them holistically as well. … Traditional and emerging benefits can offer relevant support to employees—and they can be key ingredients for the kind of caring, trusting culture in which employees thrive.”

Why the focus on helping employees thrive?

“Because thriving, happy employees are better employees,” the report states. “They are more engaged in their work, are more loyal to their employers, and more meaningfully contribute to their organizations’ goals.”

Key Stats & Findings
Following are some of the findings from the report, based on MetLife’s 2018 survey of more than 2,600 full-time U.S. workers:

Stress:

  • Employees’ number one source of stress: personal finances tops the list, regardless of age or life-stage. One in three employees admit to being less productive at work because of financial stress.
  • Stress isn’t exclusively about finances, however—and employers are well positioned to help mitigate many of employees’ other pressures. Whether it’s easing the stress of work itself (the second biggest stressor), tending to personal or family health (the third biggest stressor), or managing personal commitments (the fourth biggest stressor), employers can play a substantial role in transforming the employee experience. The right combination of benefits and experiences can help employees feel more engaged and more cared for—and build the trust that enables them to thrive.
  • Everyday stressors can pose barriers to employees’ happiness and distract them from succeeding at work. And while some of these relate to employees’ personal lives, the role that work can play — in adding to or reducing stress—is a common thread that runs throughout.

Benefits:

  • 67% of employees are satisfied with their benefits—down 4% from last year.
  • Better benefits is the third highest request on employees’ wish lists when it comes to what they need to succeed at work and navigate their work-life worlds. (And 30% of employees would actually be willing to trade a higher salary for better benefits.)
  • 60% of employees are interested in their employers providing a wider array of less traditional, non-medical benefits, even if they have to cover some of the costs themselves
  • 57% of employers are committed to offering their employees a wider range of benefits, including non-medical supplemental benefits like accident insurance, critical illness insurance, and legal services plans.

Benefits communication:

  • Communication is key: if employees don’t understand the role that benefits can play in their lives, they won’t appreciate their full impact.
  • Greater simplicity and clarity are needed: Only 4 in 10 employees strongly believe their employers’ benefits communication is simple to understand.
  • Employers should change the benefits narrative by showing how benefits work together in the context of employees’ lives, needs and sources of stress. This can increase understanding and engage employees in a more meaningful and personal way.
  • Employers should focus on communicating the relevance of the benefits packages they offer, including how benefits work together to play an important and useful role in employees’ lives.

Why Holistic Benefits Are Essential

Why Holistic Benefits Are Essential
The report also notes that, given the current robust job market and low unemployment, workers are less likely to stay with employers who don’t meet their work-life needs. Therefore, employers should design holistic benefits packages that employees can customize to their individual needs and that can be changed as their needs evolve.

Suggestions to help employers create these holistic programs:

  1. Supplement traditional benefits with EAP and well-being programs, which support an array of work-life challenges including mental health counseling, elder-care advice and life coaching.
  2. Provide employees an assortment of experiences and tools that help them better understand their benefits such as videos, guided learning experiences, and real utilization stories from their coworkers.
  3. Offer financial wellness programs featuring resources such as personalized advice, one-on-one guidance, and goal-orientated short- and long-term planning.
  4. Enhance retirement savings programs that offer employees ways to generate income during retirement and strategies for managing their savings so they don’t outlive them.

The report also addresses how employers can contribute to employees’ happiness, sense of purpose at work, and ongoing development—all of which are strong drivers of employee engagement and productivity.

If you’d like to learn more about how our work-life services can help you support employees with both their personal and professional needs, contact us here or call us at 866-675-3751.