If your workforce is overloaded with disengaged employees, you might as well give them a streamlined benefits package that includes the very basics: paid time off, decent base pay, health insurance and pension plan.
But if you’re seeking to build an engaged workforce, you’ll have to do better than that.
So says a study from Aon Hewitt, which surveyed a range of employees about their benefits package preferences. The result was that engaged employees tend to work for employers who offer than a rich and balanced benefits package, a package that is well explained to them and that is competitive in the marketplace.
The major difference between what the engaged and disengaged workers had to say about their benefits packages was pretty simple: The more engaged employees say they have a benefits packages that strikes a balance between the classic components and elements that build their career skills and contribute to work-life balance. The disengaged just don’t see such a balance in their package, and feel the package they have isn’t very competitive.
The contract was stark. One quarter of disengaged employees said the total rewards reflected by their benefits package was subpar, compared to 60 percent of engaged workers. They reported that their employer offers them a total rewards package that exceeds that offered elsewhere.
“Similarly, among engaged employees, half (51 percent) view career development/training programs as better than what other employers offer, while only 19 percent of disengaged employees would rate these programs as better competitively,” the study said.
The study found that more men than women felt their compensation and benefits were better than the competitors, and younger workers tended to feel that way more than their elder peers.
Aon Hewitt asked the workers how well they understood the components of their benefits package. PTO was well understood by more than eight in 10 employees, as was base pay. The least fully understood included such key components as the bonus system, career development/training and work-life balance, where six in 10 said they understood what the benefit meant to them. Most said they would like to have better communication from their employers about the elements of their pay and benefits packages.
While well over half of all those surveyed said they understood their benefits package, less than half found the individual components as “above the competition.”
Here’s how many of all those surveyed rated benefits elements as above the competition:
- PTO: 42 percent
- Pension plans: 41 percent
- Bonus incentives/commissions: 30 percent
- Base pay: 27 percent
- Careeer development/training programs: 22 percent
- Work-life balance: 20 percent
“Companies could see improvements in employee engagement by increasing awareness and understanding of these programs,” said Pam Hein, partner, communication consulting, Aon Hewitt. “Often providing Total Rewards statements and related web tools can help foster greater understanding. Administering engaging quizzes or quick assessments to employees can also draw attention to rewards that may be undervalued or misunderstood.”