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Strategic Benefits Decisions

(August 25, 2010) Trend Insights from MetLife's Enhanced Benefits Benchmarking Tool Drive Strategic Benefits Decisions

MetLife, a leading provider of employee benefits, announced the availability of its enhanced Web-based Benefits Benchmarking Tool, designed to help employers and brokers deliver strategic benefits decisions and recommendations. Using the Tool can provide new perspectives on benefits practices among competitors and can help align an employer's benefits offerings, strategies and communications with employee expectations to maximize the value of a group benefits program. Through customized data searches, the tool allows users to compare and contrast benefits offerings, perceptions and priorities along more than 90 dimensions such as company size, industry, region, and employee generation and household income, among others. The complimentary tool is available at
"Benefits decisions are about more than simply cost. A number of factors come into play that, when carefully architected, can transform a benefits program into a long-term strategy for meeting a company's core business objectives. Understanding benefits trends across various demographics positions employers and brokers to recognize the benefits expectations of a specific employee population, and measure an employer's program against those of competitors. They are better positioned to deliver competitive employee benefits that are highly valued, which can help drive benefits satisfaction, job satisfaction and employee loyalty," said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president, Employee Benefits Sales, MetLife.

The MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool provides research-based data in an easy-to-use, online format. In three easy steps, users can select, view, and download benefits data as it relates to specific marketplace trends based on their unique interests. Over 20 new topics are included in the enhanced Tool, including several related to employees' financial concerns and anticipated changes employers may make to their benefits offerings in the coming months. Users can compare and contrast the data along multiple variables to create actionable results. As examples, the MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool reveals the following:
  • Industry Insights and Retirement Planning. Public Administration and Education are two industries leading the way in offering retirement seminars at work. Over two-thirds (69%) of Public Administration employers and 51% of Education employers offer retirement seminars to their employees, compared to 35% of employers overall. The Benefits Benchmarking Tool indicates that this tactic may be paying off in terms of employees' retirement preparedness and employee loyalty. 61% of employees in Public Administration and 54% of employees in Education have a formal retirement plan (compared to 47% of employees overall), and employees in both industry segments say that their retirement benefits are very important influencers of employee loyalty (85% of Public Administration employees and 72% of Education employees).

  • Sizing Up Benefits by Company Size. For companies with 5,000-9,999 employees looking to increase employee productivity, work/life balance and wellness programs could be the missing link. While only 25% of employers in this segment say that providing benefits to help employees with work/life balance is a very important benefits strategy, 52% of employees at these companies say these benefits would be very effective at improving their productivity at work. A similar story emerges with respect to wellness programs. Only 33% of employers in this company size segment say that providing wellness programs is a very important benefit strategy, yet 45% of employees at these companies say that their productivity would be favorably impacted by these programs.

  • West Leads in Benefits Satisfaction and Effective Communication. Benefits satisfaction in the West is higher than in any other region. About half (49%) of employees at companies in the West say they are very satisfied with the benefits they receive through their employer. This is compared with 42% in the Northeast and Midwest, and only 39% in the South. The Benefits Benchmarking Tool indicates that the West's leading position may be a result of effective benefits communications. In the West, 38% of employees say their employers' benefits communications effectively educate them about their benefits, compared with only 29% of employees in the South. A closer examination of benefits communication strategies by employers across all regions may prove to be helpful in boosting benefits satisfaction levels.

"Employers and brokers alike know that the war for talent is fought across many dimensions, including company size, industry, geography and benefits practices. A fully integrated view of the data provided by the Benefits Benchmarking Tool facilitates the development of a targeted approach to benefits that can maximize their value to employees, enhance the client relationship and increase an employer's competitive edge," added Nugent.

About the Data
The MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool uses data from the 8th annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends, which was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2009 and consisted of two distinct studies fielded by GfK Custom Research North America. The employer survey comprised 1,503 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies with staff sizes of at least two employees. The employee sample comprised 1,305 interviews with full-time employees age 21 and over, at companies with a minimum of two employees.

About MetLife
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc., a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its domestic and international subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions.

Colleen Gildea

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