MetLife published its 10th Annual Study of Employee Benefit Trends on March 19th, 2012. At 80 pages, it’s a read. But it’s a fascinating read.
The report shows clearly that the strong role of workplace benefits in driving employee attraction, retention and productivity continues as reported by these MetLife studies during the last 10 years and persists today during the slow economic recovery. Interestingly, the study correlates satisfaction with benefits to employee job satisfaction, and also shows clearly that employees who are dissatisfied with their benefits are more likely to want to work somewhere else.
The data are fascinating. And I recommend the investment of 30 minutes to read it through.
The data point that I found most interesting in the study follows:
I haven’t seen anyone discuss employer loyalty to employees in a long time. I think I assumed, by looking at other trends, that the issue of employer loyalty was long dead. Building employee loyalty, however, was a whole other discussion: we call it employee engagement. And employers are starting to pay attention to this issue because of the rapid shift in workforce demographics coming down on us like a load of bricks. (See my posts on this topic here and here.)
But where has been the focus on employer engagement? Have we all assumed that employer loyalty is dead and gone forever? That employees “know the score” and don’t expect employers to be loyal to them? Well, MetLife reports that between 2008 and 2011 employer loyalty scores have increased 5% from 52% to 59%! Wait. What?
In the same time period, however, the perception by employees that their employers are loyal to them has decreased 8% from 40% to 32%. How pitiful is that? Employers think they’re doing better, but employees aren’t getting the message. And in fact, more of them aren’t getting the message as time goes on.
I think this is interesting. Despite all the attention being paid to employee engagement – through salary, through benefits, through recognition, through providing strong ethical cultures, through providing meaningful and interesting work — in fact, the study finds evidence of a widening disconnect between employers and employees.
Job insecurity and expectations that benefits will be cut may well be contributing to employees feeling less important to their employers. This “loyalty gap” presents an immediate opportunity for HR and C-Suite leaders to really step up communication and feedback about their increased loyalty. Of course, the proof is in the pudding, and for employees to believe that their employer is growing more loyal to them, they are going to have to see a change in behavior – if they stick around long enough.