The Prudential’s study, The Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today Beyond has found that even though employers and employees are better off financially now than they were during the recession, both report being less optimistic about their short-term financial futures. According to the study, 14 percent of employers and employees expect severe economic effects to block financial growth while 54 percent of employers say their financial position will be improved in one year and 38 percent of employees feel the same; both categories experienced a drop from 2010 when 70 percent of employers and 44 percent of employees were optimistic about their future financial status.
“Our research data shows that despite the indicators of economic recovery, it is taking longer for American employers and employees to regain full confidence in the future,” Steve Pelletier, president of Prudential Group Insurance, said. “The good news, however, is that this view of the future doesn’t negatively impact benefits decisions. In fact, benefit strategies have been evolving into a main focus for businesses of all sizes.”
Benefits strategies are becoming more of a focus for employers with 17 percent more companies dedicated to developing such strategies over 2013. The most popular strategies for the coming year include: expanding wellness initiatives; improving the communication of benefits to employees; cost-sharing plans; higher financial responsibility given to employees; and increased benefits education and financial advice for employees.
“We are seeing two positive trends pointing to the successful evolution of employee benefit strategies,” Pelletier continued. “Employers are well-positioned to shift ownership of benefits to employees. At the same time, employees are taking on more responsibility for the benefits selection process and are expressing greater confidence in the benefits they are selecting.”