More employers are citing employee retention as the primary objective in putting together a benefits plan, according to a study by MetLife.
Last year, 55 percent of employers identified employee retention as a top objective in putting together a benefits plan, up from less than 50 percent in 2003.
In the five years the company has been conducting the study, 2006 marked the first time employers cited employee retention over controlling health and benefits costs as the top priority in putting together a benefits plan.
The study also found a correlation between benefits satisfaction and job satisfaction. Among employees who are "highly satisfied" with their benefits, 80 percent indicated strong job satisfaction, up from 65 percent in last year's study.
Seventy-two percent of employees who responded to the survey said workplace benefits were a reason for joining their current employer, and 83 percent said it is a factor for remaining there.
The survey found that married employees and those with children were more likely to cite benefits as a top consideration in joining their current employer. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of married employees and 41 percent of young families (parents with children under six-years-old) stated that workplace benefits were a top consideration for joining their current employers, while only 10 percent of singles agreed it was a top consideration for them.
"While employee retention is a major benefits objective for employers, controlling costs is a close second," says Ronald Leopold, MetLife vice president. "The strong relationship between benefits satisfaction and job satisfaction indicates that there is more pressure than ever on employers to strike this balance and utilize benefits strategically to achieve both objectives."
The employee survey polled 1,202 full-time employees. The employer survey consisted of 1,514 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies.