Almost 80% of workers said that the benefits they receive is one of the reasons they choose to work for a particular company. Benefits cause employees to feel that their company appreciates them, according the 2011 Mercer Workplace Survey.
While benefits help with recruiting and retention, it can have other positive benefits such as "greater engagement, personal accountability and overall satisfaction," said Suzanne Nolan, partner, Mercer's U.S. Outsourcing business.
Other workplace initiatives that are catching employees' attention are wellness programs. Nearly a third of employees say they take advantage of their employer's wellness program up substantially from 23% last year. Looking specifically at disease management programs, 26% of employees surveyed took advantage of these programs up from 15% last year.
One reason however that employees might be so interested in wellness plans it that employees are being asked to pay a larger share of health care costs. This year, almost half (44%) of the employees surveyed reported that they were asked to pay more out of their own pocket for health benefits in the last 12 months.
Yet, 46% still identified their health benefits are "definitely worth" the cost (up from 38% in 2010).
Health Care Reform
Changes in health care coverage will continue as the health care reforms become reality. More than a third of the population of insured workers (36%, double the 2010 level) report that their employer has signaled coming changes in their health plan as a result of the new law. For companies with 250 to less than 5,000 employees, the figure rises to 45%.
Although still an unknown quantity for many workers, reform is being perceived more positively than one year ago. The proportion of workers expecting to be worse off is down and the proportion expecting to be better off is up, both on specific dimensions and overall.
Attitudes toward health care reform continue to break starkly by gender and age. Men are more likely to feel that they will be better off as a result of reform, while women are likelier to think they will be worse off.
Participants under 50 are more likely to expect to be better off, while those over 50 are more likely to expect to be worse off.