News and Updates

Employers Are From Mars, Employees Are From Venus

Here are 5 tips for offering your employees the benefits they really want.

by Nancy Emerson, May 24, 2017

Does it ever feel like you and your employees are on different planets when it comes to benefits?  Fidelity surveyed hundreds of employers and employees to better understand where the values of employers and employees differ when it comes to benefits. Although employers and their employees do view benefits differently, the good news is that more than two-thirds of both groups agree that benefits are a reason to stay with a job and are valued just as much as a paycheck.

Use these tips to help get your planets aligned and maximize the effectiveness of your benefits offering.

1. More choice.  Employers recognize that benefits shouldn’t be painful; however, limiting health plan choices isn’t the best route.  Employees appreciate when there is real choice in the benefits being offered, allowing them to find the right plan that works for their life situation.  In fact, 85% of employee respondents think that it’s extremely or very important to be provided a choice of plans compared to only 67% of employers.

2. Vision is more important than life insurance.   When asked about what benefits were most important, employers and employees agreed that medical, dental, and prescription drug coverage were the top priorities.  From there, opinions differed on the value of life insurance and vision.  Sixty-six percent of employees believed that a vision benefit was a “must-have” as compared to only 44% of employers., whereas employers put more emphasis on life insurance as being a “must-have” (71% of employers) as compared to 57% of employees.  Your best bet? Offer both.

3. Offer additional insurance.   As health care costs continue to surge, there is a growing desire for additional protection beyond medical insurance.  Thirty-nine percent of employees (vs. 10% of employers) think that having access to hospital insurance is a “must-have”.  Another emerging need is critical illness insurance, with 22% of the respondents citing it as a necessity (vs. 3% of employers). Especially if your employee base skews slightly older, these are both benefit offerings worth considering.

4. Everyone loves a bargain.  When asked about other employer-sponsored benefits, employees and employers agreed on the value of offering wellness incentive and employee assistance programs.  One notable difference – 60% of employees found that discount programs were very or extremely valuable (only 10% of employers believed it to be a “must-have”).  So if you haven’t instituted a program like this yet, now may be the time.

5. Jump on the telehealth bandwagon.  Telehealth services are gaining momentum with employees who work for larger employers, with more than 35% responding that telehealth services are extremely or very valuable.  More than 20% of larger employers also view these services as “must-haves”; however, smaller employers haven’t yet adopted these services as widely. As people continue to look for convenient and cost-effective health care alternatives, telehealth is a viable solution worth looking into.

Finally, remember that you and your employees both want the same thing – great benefits at a cost that won’t break the bank. Looking for ways to keep your medical benefit costs under control? Check out our latest cheat sheet, Smart Ways to Reduce Medical Benefit Costs.

Fidelity Workplace Investing Client Panel Survey – Health Benefits – September 2016 Fidelity Workplace Investing Participant Panel Survey – Health Benefits – September 2016


About the Author

Nancy Emerson

Nancy Emerson is the Managing Director of Member Experience at Fidelity Health Marketplace.