More, please: Employees need more information about their benefits, Unum study finds
Ratings of benefits education tied to workplace satisfaction
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This enrollment season, employees have a message for employers about their benefits: Tell us more, please.
“Even if employees don’t have a particularly good benefits package, those who say they received quality education about the benefits they are offered are far more likely to consider their employer a very good place to work.”
Only 33 percent of employees who were asked to review benefits in the prior year rated the benefits education they received as excellent or very good – a drop from 2012 (37 percent) and a reversal to the upward trend in ratings since 2009. In addition, in 2013, nearly three in 10 (27 percent) rated their benefits education as fair or poor.
The online survey of 1,521 working adults, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Unum in December 2013, finds that 74 percent of employees report understanding life insurance somewhat or very well and 71 percent report the same level of understanding of vision insurance. Yet understanding of other benefits lags behind:
- Less than half of employees report understanding supplemental medical coverage somewhat or very well (40 percent)
- Only 47 percent report they understand critical illness insurance somewhat or very well
- Nearly half (48 percent) whose employers offered long or short term disability insurance said no one explained disability insurance to them, while two-thirds of all employees (66 percent) agree employers should do a better job educating employees about these important benefits.
“The Affordable Care Act is raising lots of questions and leading to changes that extend beyond health coverage,” explains Bill Dalicandro, vice president of Unum’s Consumer Solutions Group. “Employees are making decisions about their benefits that they have never had to make before. It’s vital for employers to provide the right tools and information for employees so they can understand their benefits options and choose the coverage that is right for them.”
When given the information they need to make informed decisions about their benefits, employees tend to rate their benefits education higher. Among the 70 percent of employees whose company offered long or short term disability insurance and who received education on disability insurance, 83 percent rated their benefits education positively.
And Unum’s research also shows just how big an impact a good benefits education program has on workplace satisfaction.
In this most recent study, 79 percent of workers who reviewed benefits in the past year and rated their education as excellent or very good also rate their employer as excellent or very good – compared to only 30 percent of those who said the education they received was fair or poor.
“Offering employees effective benefits education can contribute to satisfaction with their employer,” Dalicandro said. “Even if employees don’t have a particularly good benefits package, those who say they received quality education about the benefits they are offered are far more likely to consider their employer a very good place to work.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Unum from Dec. 18-20, 2013, among 3,031 adults ages 18 and older, 1,521 of whom are identified as working adults that are full-time, part-time, or self-employed. For complete survey methodology, including sampling and weighting variables, please contact Dawn McAbee at email@example.com.
The prior surveys referenced in this document were conducted online from Dec. 9-11, 2008 (n=2,137), Dec. 9-11, 2009 (n=2,029), Dec. 6-8, 2010 (n=3,489), Dec. 16-20, 2011 (n=3,339), and Dec. 13-17, 2012 (n=3,031) among a similar population.
Unum is a leading provider of financial protection benefits through the workplace. The group disability insurance leader in the U.S. for 38 years, Unum’s portfolio of financial protection products also includes life, accident and critical illness, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. In 2013, Unum paid $5.5 billion in benefits to nearly 492,000 individuals and their families.