Employees are increasingly unhappy with their workplaces andbenefits packages, a new study finds. In fact, ratings are at theirlowest levels since 2008.

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An online survey of 1,621 working adults, conducted by HarrisPoll on behalf of insurance provider Unum, finds:

  • Less than one-half (49 percent) of U.S. workers rate theiremployer as an excellent or very good place to work.

  • Forty-seven percent of employees who are offered benefits bytheir employer rate their benefits as excellent or very good. Thisis the lowest rating of benefits in six years of conducting thisresearch.

  • Employees don't believe they are getting the information theyneed about the benefits they are being offered. Only 33 percent ofemployees who were asked to review benefits in the previous yearrated the benefits education they received as excellent or verygood—a drop from 2012 and a reversal to the upward trend in ratingssince 2009.

  • Nearly three in 10 (28 percent) rate their benefits education asfair or poor.

These results point to the need for better education aboutbenefits, said Bill Dalicandro, vice president of the consumersolutions group at Unum.

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“With health care reform and other changes in employee benefitplans, employees have so much information to digest right now,” hesaid. “Employers can play such a great role in helping theiremployees understand their options so they will feel comfortablemaking benefits decisions.”

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Businesses also come out ahead when employees are betterinformed, Dalicandro said. Employee satisfaction with theirbenefits closely correlates to satisfaction with theiremployer:

  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) of those workers who ratetheir benefits package as excellent or very good also rate theiremployer as an excellent or very good place to work.

  • Only 17 percent of employees who consider their benefits packageto be fair or poor rate their workplace as excellent or verygood.

  • Seventy-nine percent of workers who reviewed benefits in thepast year and rated their education as excellent or very good alsorate their employer as excellent or very good.

  • Only 30 percent of those who said the education they receivedwas fair or poor give their workplace high marks.

“This research underscores the value of an effective benefitseducation plan,” he said, “because when an employee understandstheir benefits, they tend to value them more and, in turn, may thenvalue their employers more for providing access to them.”

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