Bank of America Merrill Lynch today announced findings from its 2012 Workplace Benefits Report, an annual study of the increasingly significant role financial benefit plans play in employers’ talent management strategies and in the overall financial wellness of their employees. The scope of the research was expanded this year to examine both employer and employee perspectives on the evolution, availability and usefulness of workplace benefits – from 401(k) plans and health savings accounts (HSA) to financial advice and education. Key findings include:
- Financial benefits are more important to new hires today than five years ago.
- Employer concern for employees’ long-term financial security drives benefit decisions.
- Workers are largely on their own when it comes to transitioning into retirement.
- Demand for personalized financial advice in the workplace is on the rise.
- Greater understanding of their benefits increases employee engagement with and appreciation for these plans and improves outcomes.
“Our country’s retirement system is facing a great deal of scrutiny,” said Kevin Crain, head of Institutional Retirement and Benefit Services for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Corporate benefit leaders and the retirement services industry must work together to continuously improve and protect the health and vibrancy of this system and of the financial lives of the employees participating in it.”
Financial benefits play a key role in employers’ talent management strategies
The study found that nine out of 10 employers believe that financial benefits are equally or more important to potential hires today than five years ago – with half believing such benefits to be more important than ever. Confirming this, nearly 80 percent of employees view these benefits as a key factor when considering and accepting a new position.Companies of all sizes also recognize the need to offer competitive financial benefits to retain talented people and stem employee turnover costs (84 percent), from losses in productivity and sales to the high cost of recruitment and training. Encouragingly, the survey found most employers today (81 percent) make financial benefit plans available to employees as part of their company’s core values.