Being a business owner, some new research that MetLife recently unveiled immediately got my attention. It was about the four key types that employers embody when it comes to workplace benefits investments and strategies.
At the recent National Business Group on Health’s 22nd National Conference on Health, Productivity and Human Capital in San Diego, MetLife Vice President Ronald Leopold, M.D., unveiled proprietary research that identifies the four categories employers fall into regarding their attitudes towards benefits. Dr. Leopold calls these employer profiles: “Traditional,” “Standard," "Flexible," "Progressive"
Here is a summary of the four employer profiles that were found across all industries and across companies of all sizes:
1. Traditional. 17% of employers demonstrate a commitment to the legacy of employee benefits. Health insurance and retirement plans are the cornerstones of their programs, and they tend to fund more of these core benefits than other companies do. While they may also offer voluntary benefits, these employers do not appear to focus heavily on matching those benefits with the specific needs of their employee populations or delivering or communicating them in a targeted way.?
2. Standard. 28% of employers recognize the essential nature of health insurance and retirement plans. However, these employers often do not fully fund these benefits. They sometimes serve as a channel through which employees can gain access to group rates on a voluntary basis, though.?
3. Flexible. 23% of employers are very aware of their competition (those they hire against and compete against in the marketplace); their consideration of the trade-off between offering choices and shifting costs leads them to support a wider range of benefits programs through self-directed education, communication, and decision-support tools.?
4. Progressive. 32% of employers believe that the richness and diversity of their benefits platform provides a competitive advantage. They seem focused on meeting the diverse needs of their workforce, and provide benefits beyond basic health and welfare offerings. They are among the first employers to offer benefits and programs that address work/life balance.
While the focus of MetLife's research is to help employers understand what their profile is so as to maximize the return on their benefits investments, it may have broader implications, too. Perhaps one of these profiles--traditional, standard, flexible, progressive--describes your overall management philosophy and style. Is it working?
Jerry Kalish is founder and President of National Benefit Services, Inc., a Chicago-based employee benefit consulting and administrative firm that serves private-held companies, publicly traded companies, and public sector employers. He blogs at The Retirement Plan Blog and can be reached at
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