Workers are willing to sacrifice pay for better retirement benefits, but not for healthcare
- Most U.S. workers are willing to swap their pay for greater retirement benefits, but far fewer would trade off pay for better healthcare coverage, a Willis Towers Watson (WTW) survey emailed to HR Dive shows. The "2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey" found that 66% of respondents would make higher monthly payments for more generous retirement benefits, and 61% would exchange more pay for a guaranteed retirement benefit.
- In other results, just 38% of respondents would pay more each month for a better healthcare plan, and 46% would be willing to spend more money for lower, more predictable healthcare costs. But fewer respondents said they would pay for services and tools, including those that help them live healthier lives (24%) and improve their financial situation (19%).
- Generally, most employees are satisfied with their core benefits, says WTW. About 59% think their retirement plan meets their needs, and 66% believe their healthcare plan meets their needs. But respondents were less happy with their well-being and non-core benefits; just 43% said their package gives them more choice and variety to meet their needs, and just 27% believe their employer's offerings help them manage their finances.
Well-being programs, with the potential to create healthier workers and hold down healthcare costs, are gaining popularity among employers — but employers must be careful that the programs actually meet employees' needs. According to a similar 2017 WTW survey, 61% of employees felt their employers' well-being programs weren't meeting their needs. Internal employee surveys shouldn't be underestimated; like exit interviews, they can provide employers with open, honest information that helps with strategic decision-making.
This survey also points to the growing attention upon financial wellness by both employers and employees alike. Healthcare coverage tops employees' list of most important benefits, yet as this survey shows, employees may be wary of paying any more for healthcare than they absolutely must — perhaps partly due to financial stressors that financial wellness programs aim to address.
Financial wellness programs vary widely in their approaches, from retirement savings funds to student loan repayment, but they can help employees of all generations with myriad challenges. Helping employees solve their financial issues has a key boon for employers: it can relieve stress over money that may be distracting workers on the job.