Employee benefits specialists are paying closer attention to controlling healthcare costs and providing total rewards programs that will attract and retain talent in 2006, according to a survey by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS).
The survey asked 422 employee benefit specialists about the top five priorities for their total rewards program, which includes compensation, benefits, perquisites, and any other direct or indirect payments made to employees.
More than 90 percent of respondents said that controlling health care benefit costs was a top-five priority, with more than half naming it their number one concern.
Nearly 70 percent of respondents identified the need to provide total rewards programs that will attract and retain talent as a top-five priority, up markedly from 56 percent in 2005.
"We've seen a significant spike over the past year in the amount of attention being paid to escalating health care costs and attracting, managing, and retaining critical talent" says Tim Phoenix, principal and national leader of Deloitte Consulting's Total Rewards practice. "Employers are struggling to find that delicate balance between controlling costs while also providing total rewards programs that will motivate and drive workforce performance. This year's survey results provide evidence that this tension is becoming much more acute."
Rounding out the top-five priorities are increasing employee's responsibility for benefits directly and indirectly (63 percent), managing retirement benefit costs (46 percent), and the need to receive appropriate return on investment for reward expenditures (43 percent).