The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has been conducting “value of benefits” surveys for 20 years to determine the relative importance of different benefits to workers and to assess the role played by benefits in job choice and job change over time. The surveys show consistency in the value of some benefits and substantial change in the value of others.

When ascertaining the value of Workplace Benefits, findings from the 2016 study could really help you out the wheat from the chaff! We’ve complied some major takeaways for you and we’ll be delving deeper in the coming weeks.

Top 10 takeaways

  1. One-third of workers (32 percent) are only somewhat satisfied with the benefits offered by their current employer, and 20 percent are not satisfied.
  2. One-half (47 percent) report that the ability to choose which benefits they want to purchase is a strong advantage, and 36 percent say it is a moderate advantage. Portability is cited as a strong or moderate advantage by 80 percent!
  3. Workers express a strong preference for online benefits enrollment as well. More than one-half (55 percent) prefer online enrollment methods versus just 16 percent who prefer a paper method.
  4. 6 in 10 workers (59 percent) who are extremely satisfied with their benefits are also extremely satisfied with their job overall (compared with 18 percent who are very satisfied with their benefits or just 8 percent who are not satisfied with their benefits).
  5. One-half (49 percent) are extremely or very confident that their employer will continue to offer a similar benefits package three years from now.
  6. Those who are less confident that their benefits will remain the same tend to believe their benefits will weaken.
  7. Workers continue to value employment-based health insurance as their most important benefit.
  8. Eightyseven percent of workers report that employment-based health insurance is extremely or very important, followed by a retirement savings plan (77 percent) and dental or vision (72 percent).
  9.  Two-thirds are confident in their ability to make informed benefits choices. Yet, nearly as many would welcome benefits advice from a third-party advisor or an online program.
  10. Workers identify lower cost, choice, and the convenience of paying pre-tax and through payroll deductions as strong advantages of voluntary employment-based benefits

What benefits stand out? 

A retirement savings plan (rated extremely or very important by 77 percent of workers) and dental or vision insurance (rated extremely or very important by 72 percent) are also among the highest-rated benefits. Over one-half of workers say traditional pension or defined benefit plans (54 percent), life insurance (52 percent), and disability insurance (52 percent) are important.


Who’s offering theses benefits? 

  • More than 8 in 10 workers (82 percent) report their employer offers them health insurance
  • Three in four each indicate they are offered dental insurance (74 percent) or a retirement savings plan (74 percent)
  • Two-thirds each say they are offered vision insurance (67 percent) or life insurance (63 percent).
  • Nearly 6 in 10 report their employer offers them short-term disability insurance (58 percent), and one-half report their employer offers them long-term disability insurance (51 percent).
  • However, one-third or fewer say they are offered long-term care insurance (33 percent), accident insurance (28 percent), supplemental health insurance for workers (21 percent), critical illness (19 percent), or cancer insurance (16 percent).
  • When offered, health insurance (92 percent) is most likely to be paid for in part or in full by the employer.
  • Three quarters of workers report their employer pays all or some of the cost for their dental (77 percent) or vision. Roughly 7 in 10 say their employer covers at least some of the cost of their life insurance (70 percent) and short-term disability, while 63 percent believe their employer pays for some or all of their long-term disability. Accident insurance (61 percent say employer pays at least some of cost) and supplemental health for workers (53 percent say employer pays at least some of cost) are more likely to be voluntary employee-paid benefits. The benefits most likely to be offered on a voluntary basis are long-term care (51 percent say employer pays at least some of cost), critical illness (50 percent), and cancer insurance (44 percent).


To access the full report, click here