Benefits tech platform conceptIncentives, well-being, career/development/training and recognitionprograms are among the least understood benefits—leading employeesnot to appreciate their value. (Image: Shutterstock)

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Employees are losing ground when it comes to understanding their workplace benefits—in fact,while in 2015 77 percent said they understood them, that's nowfallen to just 50 percent.

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That's not good news for employers, says a new report fromAlight Solutions, since it affects howemployees perceive the value they're getting from theirbosses. And that can cause problems when it comes to recruiting andretaining top talent, since if they don't feelthey and their families are getting top value, they'll lookelsewhere.

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Related: Employee benefit trends to watch in2019

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In fact, says the report, “overall employee experience is notmeeting expectations nor is the experience perceived asparticularly productive or inspiring.” That's definitely weighingon retention, since 54 percent are now either passively or activelyconsidering finding a new job—up four points from 2017.

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According to the report, earlier research finds that incentives,well-being, career/development/training and recognition programs are the leastunderstood—leading employees not to appreciate their value.

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So what can employers do? Alight suggests “strong and concisebenefits programs,” since employees who feel employer rewards domeet their needs are seven times more likely to be engaged thanemployees who don't.

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(Source: Alight)

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In addition, flexibility is a must—with 51 percent of employeessaying they wouldn't even consider a job with less flexibility thantheir current role. And it takes a lot of money to make them changetheir minds; the report says that on average, those who might bewilling to move to a less flexible job would want a pay raise of atleast 31 percent to make up for the flexibility loss.

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Then there's communication—with more than half of workers sayingthat effective communication (58 percent) and collaboration (57percent) should be common practice at any employer. If employeesaren't understanding their benefits, that's obviously not thecase.

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Finally, technology and HR platforms need to be efficient,particularly since employees are five times more engaged when theyfeel HR systems and platforms are easy to use, and they are sixtimes more engaged when those systems and platforms areeffective.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.