Research Shows Employers Need to Beef up Employee Benefits Education

January 6, 2015

When enrollment season approaches each year, employers should remember that their workers need to be informed about what options are available to them, what changes have been made to the benefits offerings, and what their chosen benefits include. Research shows that less than 35 percent of workers who were questioned about their benefits during the previous year said they received good or excellent education about what was offered and what each option included. This was a decrease from the slightly more than 35 percent reported in 2012. Since 2009, there had been an upward shift in numbers overall until that point. About 30 percent of respondents said their education was poor or fair in 2013.

The survey with these findings was conducted among more than 1,500 adults in the workforce. Additional findings show that nearly 75 percent of employees said they understood life insurance very well or somewhat well. Only about 70 percent said they understood as much about vision coverage. However, their comprehension of other benefits was lacking. Researchers said that less than 50 percent of employees said they understood what supplemental medical coverage was well enough to rank their understanding at very well or somewhat well. Less than 50 percent of workers said they comprehended what insurance for critical illnesses was very well or somewhat well. Almost half of the workers whose employers provided disability coverage said it was not explained, but more than 65 percent of workers said their employers should work harder to educate them about benefits.

Experts say that the Affordable Care Act has sparked many questions, and it has led to a variety of changes that go beyond health insurance. They say that workers are now making more decisions about benefits, which are some decisions that they have never had to make before in their lives. It is very important for employers to offer thorough information and valuable tools for workers to better understand benefits offerings and to help them choose the options that are best for their individual needs.

When provided with the information necessary for making a good decisions about insurance in the workplace, employees mostly rated their education higher than the average number reported earlier in the survey. Of the 70 percent of workers who worked in companies offering disability insurance, more than 80 percent said their benefits education ranked positively. Researchers also said that their findings revealed how important good education is for increasing employee satisfaction. In this particular survey, nearly 80 percent of employees who had benefits the year before said their education was very good or excellent, and those workers also rated their employers as very good or excellent.

Experts say that providing workers with effective education will not only make them more satisfied but may also make them want to stay with the company longer. Experts found it interesting that even though some workers did not have excellent benefits, they ranked their education provisions higher and also ranked their workplace satisfaction higher. Having platinum benefits to offer workers may not be possible for many companies, but it may not be the most vital part of employee satisfaction. To learn more about what options are best in the workplace and how to educate employees better, discuss concerns with an agent.

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