Research highlights the gap between employers and employees on the value of benefits across group risk

communication

Staff value the group risk benefits they are offered more than employers believe, highlighting a growing perception gap, according to new research by MetLife. The study found that 74% of employers believe staff would rather have the cash than life insurance and 73% believe employees do not value life insurance despite the money invested in providing life cover.

Yet, the research among employees shows two-thirds (66%) would take life insurance instead of the cash and 80% regard it as an important benefit to have. Additionally, more than half of employees (55%) say they would still be concerned about taking extended time off work if they had group income protection, and this demonstrates an underlying breakdown of communication between employers and employees.

However, the report revealed that 74% of employers do not actively communicate the benefits of group income protection for fear that it will encourage staff to take time off if they are aware they have this provision in place.  Employers are even confused about the benefits of the packages they provide – 80% of employers questioned said they regard income protection as an important benefit to protect their cash flow despite concerns about it potentially encouraging absenteeism.

When employers were questioned on why this might be the case, 82% admitted to having a lack of expertise with the product, with 79% also blaming a lack of time for not implementing it properly.  A further 71% of employers cited both cost and a lack of resources as a reason for why group income protection wasn’t being properly promoted.

Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife UK said: “There is a huge gulf between what employers and employees think about benefits and a lack of understanding on both sides on the value of employee benefits.

“Neither side should lose sight of the central role they play in the working life when you consider the central role they play as a recruitment and retention tool of today. Employers should take time to ensure the benefits package they are offering is one that resonates with their employees, and staff members should ensure they benefit as much as possible from what is on offer in their own specific workplace.”