The latest insights from MetLife’s Employee Benefit Trends Study find those who take advantage of open enrollment are happier on the job
As the workforce enters open enrollment season and conversations around the employee experience continue to make headlines, new research finds employees who understand their benefits are happier and have a greater sense of overall stability at work. According to the latest data from MetLife’s Employee Benefit Trends Study, 76% of workers who understand their benefits are happy and 82% believe their benefits give them a greater sense of overall stability—versus only 47% and 52%, respectively, who don’t.
This comes as employees say “being happy” is the most important aspect of their work experience (73%), followed by doing meaningful work and being successful. As the workforce transitions into the era of “The Big Stay”—with 77% of employees now saying they intend to be with their employer in a year—the research indicates employees may increasingly become more intentional about their benefits selection at open enrollment as a means of improving their overall job satisfaction.
“Employee benefits play a massive role in employees’ lives both at and outside of work—and a big part of this is not just the benefits themselves, but also the awareness of how they are used,” said Jamie Madden, senior vice president of Workforce Engagement and Benefits Connectivity at MetLife. “Understanding benefits leads to more informed open enrollment decisions, better utilization, and a happier, more stable, and generally more satisfied workforce.”
Overcoming Enrollment Barriers
Despite the positive impact benefits have on employees, the research identified several barriers that frequently hinder comprehension:
- Education: 62% of employees say understanding how to use their benefits would give them a greater sense of overall stability while 50% say having a better understanding of their benefits—what’s offered and what’s covered—would make them more loyal.
- Procrastination: Nearly one-third of employees (31%) procrastinated when selecting their benefits last year and 37% wish they’d had more time to make the right choices. This comes as one in six employees regret their benefits elections from last year.
- Consultation: Nearly half of employees (44%) didn’t consult others before enrolling in benefits last year. This group was also less likely to fully understand their benefits and more likely to worry about unexpected health and financial issues.
However, the research found that when employees take the time to understand and engage in conversations about benefits, they increase their comprehension, make more informed decisions, reduce anxiety, and improve their happiness in stride.
Enabling an Engaged and Loyal Workforce
Employers can help their workforce make more confident open enrollment decisions by using multiple channels and incorporating personalization into benefit communications strategies. For employers, this yields not only a happier, healthier, and more engaged workforce, but also a more loyal one: 50% of employees say having a better understanding of their benefits would make them more loyal to their employer.
“With two-thirds of today’s workforce saying open enrollment is more important this year given the current economic situation, it’s critical that employers take steps to empower their employees to make more confident open enrollment decisions and ultimately, have a happier experience at work,” said Madden.
To learn more about open enrollment and access MetLife resources, visit https://www.metlife.com/open-enrollment/
Wave 2 of MetLife’s 21st Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study was conducted in July 2023 and was fielded by Rainmakers CSI – a global strategy, insight and planning consultancy. The survey included 2,650 interviews with full-time employees, aged 21 and over. All employees were based in the U.S. and were nationally representative of the U.S. Data in this release was collected as part of Wave 2 and was not reported in MetLife’s 21st Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study.