The pressure of a faltering economy seems to be having a positive effect on employee appreciation of their benefits, says a new survey from Workscape, Inc. Nearly 75% of the 787 HR professionals surveyed report that their employees are more appreciative now of their employer-provided benefits than in the past. As a result, companies have been able to engage their employees on a wider range of health benefit plans and options.
For example, nearly 50% of small and mid-sized firms, and nearly 2/3 of large companies, now offer consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) and high-deductible health plans (HDHP), according to the survey. The last year saw a 10% increase in the adoption of these plans by employees.
Employee engagement in these new health benefit options and health/disease management programs is enhanced through the use of incentives and decision support tools in many companies, according to the survey. About 2/3 of the companies use tools to help employees make informed decisions about participating in a CDHP or HDHP, and 40% use incentives to encourage employee participation in a health/disease management program. Roughly half of the companies are communicating the real value of their benefits through the use of total benefit statements. Nearly 35% of the responding companies said they are outsourcing open enrollment. The practice is more common in large organizations.
“These findings demonstrate that while companies are still facing challenges in reducing their health benefit costs in this difficult operating environment, they are also finding new ways to engage with their employees around the renewed value of benefits perceived by their workforce,” said Tim Clifford, CEO of Workscape.