|[January 15, 2013]
Prudential Benefits Research Shows Declining Optimism about Finances among Employers and Employees
NEWARK, N.J. --(Business Wire)--
Nearly four years after the financial crisis began, fewer employers and
employees are reporting severe negative economic effects. However, both
groups exhibit declining optimism about how they will be doing
financially a year from now. According to Sharpening the Focus on
Benefits Strategy, the first in a series of research briefs stemming
from The Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond from
The Prudential Insurance Company of America (Prudential), 14% of
both employers and employees cite severe negative economic effects, down
significantly from 2010 results of 27% for employers and 22% for
employees. Conversely, employers who say their financial position will
be better or improving in one year dropped from 70% in 2010 to 54% this
year; employees report a drop from 44% to 38%.
"Prudential's flagship study continues to be an essential source of
trend data on the benefits marketplace. 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," notes Steve Pelletier, president of Prudential Group Insurance.
"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."
Employers report a 17% increase over 2010 results in making benefits
strategies a main focus. With shifting ownership and cost of benefits to
employees, employers' top strategies are, in priority order:
Expanding wellness, preventive, and work/life balance initiatives
Improving the effectiveness of benefits communications
Cost-sharing with employees
Giving more financial responsibility to employees
Increasing employee benefits education and financial advice
From their viewpoint, 79% of employees see their employers as a
trustworthy ource to help them grow and protect their money, second
only to credit unions (81%.) And, the perceived value of employee
benefits has been trending upward, from 43% in 2010 to 59% today.
Fifty-one percent of employees believe they are being offered a wide
array of benefits, up from 38% two years ago.
"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."
Communications are key to employee satisfaction and strengthening
employees' trust and confidence in their employers. Employees have seen
a steady trend in the effectiveness of their benefit communications,
from 36% in 2011 to 42% today. At the same time, employers report
increased satisfaction with their benefits, at 37% today, up from 27% a
"For the first time, we are seeing disagreement in the perception of
benefits communication effectiveness between employers and employees,"
said Jean Wiskowski, chief marketing officer, Prudential Group
Insurance. "The research shows employers believe group meetings at work
are the most successful form of communication and education. By
contrast, employees told us they prefer multiple forms of outreach
including email, traditional mail and online presentations. This
indicates that employers may need to re-evaluate their benefits
communication tools, to include video and rich media employees can
review at their own pace."
Employees report they are reading their benefit enrollment material in
large numbers, 82% this year, up seven points from last year. Most agree
they prefer benefits communications they can read on their own time.
Sharpening the Focus on Benefits Strategy is the first in a
series of five research briefs that highlight the major findings from
Prudential's Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today &
Beyond. The research was conducted via the Internet during
July 2012, and consisted of three distinct surveys of plan sponsors,
plan participants, and broker/consultant audiences.
Prudential Group Insurance manufactures and distributes a full range of
group life, long-term and short-term disability, and corporate and
trust-owned life insurance in the U.S. to institutional clients
primarily for use in connection with employee and membership benefits
plans. The business also sells accidental death and dismemberment, and
other ancillary coverages and provides plan administrative services in
connection with its insurance coverages.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader, has
operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Prudential's diverse and talented employees are committed to helping
individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth
through a variety of products and services, including life insurance,
annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, and investment
management. In the U.S., Prudential's iconic Rock symbol has stood for
strength, stability, expertise, and innovation for more than a century.
For more information, please visit http://www.news.prudential.com/.
Group coverages issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of
America, 751 Broad Street, Newark, NJ. Prudential, the Prudential logo,
and the Rock symbol are service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and
its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.
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