- Employees want their employers to be more involved in helping them through certain financial hardships, according to the results of a recent survey from Morgan Stanley at Work.
- Respondents said they were paying closer attention to their financial benefits and expressed a desire that employers meet them halfway. Four in five of the 1,000 U.S. workers surveyed said they thought their employers should help employees understand how to maximize their benefits.
- Ninety percent of respondents said financial benefits that targeted their needs would cause them to feel more invested in their work, according to the survey. The results highlighted a potential dissonance in this area, however; 3 in 5 said they never used financial benefits when in financial trouble.
Morgan Stanley's survey respondents included 600 HR professionals, who highlighted several action items for employers considering the financial wellness of their workforces.
For instance: Half of HR execs said their companies were missing the mark as they aimed to improve their finance benefits offerings. "Many [recalled] times where employees requested a specific type of financial benefit support that their company [did] not offer," Morgan Stanley said. Further, 9 in 10 HR executives said their company needed to do better helping employees understand how to maximize their financial benefits.
Employers have increased reason to treat benefits education carefully this year. Shortly after the pandemic began, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, both of which contained several benefits provisions aimed to help workers cope with the global health crisis. Many of these provisions — like the CARES Act's safe harbor provision and ARPA's higher dependent care contributions — expired at year's end, leaving employers the job of communicating the changes to employees.
Outside of the specific changes that transpired recently, many employers are adding new financial benefits to their offerings. Sources say communication about any new offering is key. "Communications can make or break any employee benefits program," Daniel Bryant and Heather Garbers of HUB International wrote in an HR Dive op-ed. "And don't forget to include an engagement strategy with inexpensive enrollment incentives offered to help boost awareness and enrollment."