A Peek at What May Affect Benefits in 2017

By ASPPA Net Staff • January 03, 2017 • 0 Comments
The confetti and champagne bottles are cleaned up, and 2017 is underway. What may it bring in employee benefits? A recent analysis suggests some factors that could affect retirement plans and participants.

MetLife’s 14th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study identifies four factors that retirement plan service providers, administrators and participants may encounter and for which they may want to prepare.

Communication. MetLife found that two-thirds of employees find their employer’s communication about employee benefits hard to understand, and that, in turn, leads many employees to assume they don’t need what’s available. And that affects enrollment — which hurts overall retirement readiness among the workforce. More than 70% of the employers MetLife talked to said they improved their benefits communications by working with an enrollment firm.

Customization. MetLife found that employees are interested in benefits programs that can be tailored to meet unique needs, and that by customizing a benefits plan an employer can better compete for and retail valued employees.

Data Security. Not only do breaches of data security hurt an employer’s bottom line, they also affect employees — and plan participants. MetLife suggests that an employer “shore up the digital support chain” to limit how exposed employee data is.

Financial Stress. This is employees’ most significant source of stress, and therefore also affects employers, MetLife says. But it found that has not translated to widespread action by employers — the study says that less than one-third provided financial wellness programs to their employees in 2016.

Reviewing Retirement Plans. MetLife found that interest in reviewing retirement plans increases with age. The study says that 23% of younger Millennials (ages 21-24) are doing so; 35% of older Millennials (ages 25-34) are; and 58% of those in Generation X (ages 35-50).