The economy is re-shaping both employers’ and employee’s views on workplace benefits. Most employers continue to value their most important asset: the human capital that is inherent in their employees. This is good news.
Retaining employees is the #1 benefits objective for American employers, according to MetLife’s 7th annual Employee Benefits Trends Study.
Now, for the #2 and #3 objectives for employers as revealed by MetLife’s survey: due to the economic downturn, employers are looking for more productivity out of their employees, while controlling costs.
At the same time, employees are concerned about their financial security. MetLife has found that 56% of workers value benefits more than ever. In fact, workers in larger companies believe that benefits are the basis of their personal financial security. Nearly one-half are trying to better understand their benefits, in order to take better advantage of them than they have in the past.
Workers’ concern is that, due to economics, employers will cut benefits: 1 in 3 American workers is concerned about cutbacks in benefits. However, MetLife’s survey suggests that employers aren’t looking to cut benefits deeply; they’re looking to get more ROI out of what they’re spending.
But workers nonetheless feel acute financial in-security. 1 in 2 workers told MetLife they’re living paycheck to paycheck, a big increase from 37% in 2006.
Similar to last year’s survey, the top concern about retirement is one’s ability to afford health care, which 65% of workers worry about. Second, it’s all about having enough money to afford retirement.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:
Financial security is top of mind to working Americans in 2009. Based on the above chart based on MetLife’s data, there is a bit of a disconnect between workers and their employers. While salary and health care continue to be agreed as the top loyalty issue, for workers, it’s all about the benefit: in retirement, and in other life and quality of life issues such as life insurance, dental coverage, vision, and disability. 2 in 3 workers say these benefits are critical. Employers see job advancement and company culture in their place.
It’s financial security all the way, which includes health security. Employers can adjust benefits in 2010 to respond to this chasm, which could improve employee morale at this difficult time and drive greater productivity and ROI for employers’ benefit investments — which is just what the employers told MetLife they’re looking to do.