Half the battle in winning over workers is knowing what they value and what scares them. One study addresses both.
More and more workers worry about their benefits, and especially about retirement accounts, according to a nationwide eight-year study by benefits consultant Mercer. The corollary is that more and more workers are loyal to an employer whose benefits package addresses worker concerns.
Here’s a snapshot of what came out of the Mercer poll:
- Retirement. The number of workers who said they were worried about saving enough for retirement jumped by about 50% between 2008 and 2011. Even among workers under age 50, the number who said they’d probably delay retirement went up by about 50% during the same period. Reflecting their concerns, workers this year expect to put an average of $7,763 into their retirement accounts in 2011, up from $6,440 last year.
- Job security. Even during just the last year, the number of employees who expressed worry over their job security went up by about 25%. It appears that in 2010, a lot of workers thought the economy would get better by now. Because it hasn’t, they’re more worried about whether they’ll have a job tomorrow.
- Importance of benefits. Almost four out of five employees (79%) in 2011 said benefits are one of the main reasons for choosing and staying with an employer. That’s a 4-percentage-point jump over an already high number who had the same response in 2010. As you might expect, respondents were especially tied to the importance of employer-provided health benefits; 86% said what they pay out-of-pocket for their health benefits, including premiums, is probably or definitely worth it for the coverage they get.
What it all means
Based on the data, employees clearly put a lot of stock — and a lot of loyalty — in employers that offer:
- Good retirement plans, via 401(k)s or other accounts
- An environment in which management makes decisions based not just on generating short-term profits but also on the long-term financial security of the company, and
- A solid — if not lavish — benefits package that’s attractive enough that workers won’t dwell on missed pay raises or other salary concerns.
Related story: Do you offer this in your 401(k) mix? Why you should.