Growing Recognition of the Toll Health and Financial Concerns May Have on Workplace Productivity

(From Business Wire) — The economic crisis has created a significant shift in employers’ benefits objectives. Controlling benefits costs is now the top benefits objective for employers, edging out employee retention for the first time since 2006. And while improving employee productivity remains the third most important benefits objective, employers have renewed focus on this area due to the economy – 84% of employers now report that this is a very important benefits objective, up from 79% in 2008. At the same time, however, economic pressures confronting employees may negatively impact productivity. According to MetLife’s 8th annual Employee Benefits Trends Study, released today, 68% of employees said that over the last 12 months they were affected by increased feelings of job insecurity, a decrease in the quality of their work, an increase in their workload or being distracted at work because of financial worries. “In a still-fragile economy, organizations are searching for ways to maximize their benefits programs to improve employee productivity as well as control costs. Programs that help improve employee health and financial security can be strategic tools for helping address these objectives. However, these programs, which in many cases have only a nominal cost to implement, are still underutilized by many employers,” said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president, U.S. Business, MetLife. “The ‘next benefits frontier’ will focus on providing employees with access to these programs along with the education needed to become a healthier, more financially secure workforce.” Providing access to health and wellness programs, work/life balance programs, and financial advice and guidance in the workplace may prove to be a “win-win” for employers and employees alike as approximately eight out of ten employees say that they believe their productivity would be favorably impacted by these programs. Read more.

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