Employers changing benefits for employees

Oct 10, 2011

Job applicants are looking for an employer that will communicate benefits in a way they will understand and respond to.

In the 2011 Employee Benefits survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, employers said they adjusted employee benefits in an effort to manage increasing costs and a poor economic climate. The survey found employers are remodeling their benefits plans to give employees more responsibility in managing their retirement and future financial security through life insurance policies.

Mark Schmit, director of research at SHRM, said human resource benefit budgets have suffered significant cuts in the last three years, forcing employees to seek benefits on their own.

"Organizations have to be creative to find ways to compensate for the loss of benefits with hard cuts in order to stay competitive in the recruitment and retention of top talent," Schmit said.

Employer-sponsored benefits are one of many demands the Gen Y pool of talent is expecting from their employers. A recent study by Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company found that employers must understand the preferences and communication styles, in terms of workplace benefits, of Generation Y applicants to successfully attract and retain the top talent.

According to the study, Generation Y workers are less financially stable than previous generations, put a greater value on strong benefits packages when deciding on a position and prefer more personal communication when discussing benefits information with employers.

To effectively communicate benefits with Gen Y workers, the research recommends one-on-one counseling with employees, using appropriate technology for the message, discussing and sharing information through multiple communication methods and channels and make the content more interactive. The research said benefits decision-making is shifting towards employees and employers must understand the potential return on investment that could be acquired by properly communicating benefits to employees.  

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