“We are seeing two positive trends pointing to the successful evolution of employee benefit strategies,” Pelletier continued. “Employers are well-positioned to shift ownership of benefits to employees. At the same time, employees are taking on more responsibility for the benefits selection process and are expressing greater confidence in the benefits they are selecting.”

Communications are key to employee satisfaction and strengthening employees’ trust and confidence in their employers. Employees have seen a steady trend in the effectiveness of their benefit communications, from 36% in 2011 to 42% today. At the same time, employers report increased satisfaction with their benefits, at 37% today, up from 27% a year ago.

“For the first time, we are seeing disagreement in the perception of benefits communication effectiveness between employers and employees,” said Jean Wiskowski, chief marketing officer, Prudential Group Insurance. “The research shows employers believe group meetings at work are the most successful form of communication and education. By contrast, employees told us they prefer multiple forms of outreach including email, traditional mail and online presentations. This indicates that employers may need to re-evaluate their benefits communication tools, to include video and rich media employees can review at their own pace.”

Employees report they are reading their benefit enrollment material in large numbers, 82% this year, up seven points from last year. Most agree they prefer benefits communications they can read on their own time.

Sharpening the Focus on Benefits Strategy is the first in a series of five research briefs that highlight the major findings from Prudential’s Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond. The research was conducted via the Internet during July 2012, and consisted of three distinct surveys of plan sponsors, plan participants, and broker/consultant audiences.

Prudential Group Insurance manufactures and distributes a full range of group life, long-term and short-term disability, and corporate and trust-owned life insurance in the U.S. to institutional clients primarily for use in connection with employee and membership benefits plans. The business also sells accidental death and dismemberment, and other ancillary coverages and provides plan administrative services in connection with its insurance coverages.

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