Employee Benefits: Self Selection or ‘Pick and Mix’ prove popular

For the 15th year, last week the USA’s own MetLife’s 15th Annual Study of Employee Benefit Trends was released.

The study looks at 2504 employers with at least 2 employees, and 2652 employees aged 21+ who reside at companies with 2 employees or more.

Whilst it might pick up on people with a company size of 3 – 5 and is not instantly reflective of many SME’s or large corporations, there are still some interesting takeaways – with one very interesting stat in employees wanting to pick and mix their benefits plans. But first – we look at the world of work. Are millennials really all keen on working from their local coffee joint, and are all baby Boomers staunchly wanting the same old, same old?

This survey says, in a  fashion, ‘yes’. But it has to be taken with a pinch and a bit of salt.   The questionnaire showed that 51% are interested in contract/ freelance/work from home. That means, slightly over half of the people surveyed did want more flexible hours, the ability to work for, home or to take on projects, versus a full-time job.

Whilst the question has to be under scrutiny (when asked if you would like to be a zookeeper you may say yes – but are you actively pursuing it? When asked if you are interested in work from home work are you likely to dismiss an equal full time, office based job in reality?) – the stats are still interesting and show the intent behind today’s worker, who values free time and choice over employer gifted benefits.

When it came to the benefits that were most of the interest to the 2000 employers, they felt that they wanted  to retain employees (83%) although at 80% there was the interest in increasing productivity and just behind by 1% was the interest in controlling health and welfare benefit costs – something unique to the USA market.  51% felt that retention would be what would interest them in the next 3 – 5 years – perhaps they had read the answers from employees looking for flexible, project jobs…

There seems to be a conclusion that because employees fancy gig based jobs and employers fear their growth in the next 3-5 years that the reality is that we are all heading off to work independently of the traditional system.

Stats such as eighty-one percent growth in gig economy! make this seem a reality, but many of the stats show that the jobs are with businesses like AirBnB and Uber, and therefore, don’t make a full comparative.

One interesting takeaway of that 72% if employees wanted customized benefits. If we’ve gone through waves of employee benefits, 2017 and 2018, 2019 and 2020 will surely be the years of choice. Smart companies should be looking less at standardized packages and plans, but the very British Pick and Mix model.

Are you implementing changes based on the survey results? 

How are you using choice to affect your plans?

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