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Workplace, benefits satisfaction at 6-year low

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Employees are increasingly unhappy with their workplaces and benefits packages, a new study finds. In fact, ratings are at their lowest levels since 2008.

An online survey of 1,621 working adults, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of insurance provider Unum, finds:

  • Less than one-half (49 percent) of U.S. workers rate their employer as an excellent or very good place to work.
  • Forty-seven percent of employees who are offered benefits by their employer rate their benefits as excellent or very good. This is the lowest rating of benefits in six years of conducting this research.
  • Employees don’t believe they are getting the information they need about the benefits they are being offered. Only 33 percent of employees who were asked to review benefits in the previous year rated the benefits education they received as excellent or very good — a drop from 2012 and a reversal to the upward trend in ratings since 2009.
  • Nearly three in 10 (28 percent) rate their benefits education as fair or poor.

These results point to the need for better education about benefits, said Bill Dalicandro, vice president of the consumer solutions group at Unum.

“With health care reform and other changes in employee benefit plans, employees have so much information to digest right now,” he said. “Employers can play such a great role in helping their employees understand their options so they will feel comfortable making benefits decisions.”

Businesses also come out ahead when employees are better informed, Dalicandro said. Employee satisfaction with their benefits closely correlates to satisfaction with their employer:

  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) of those workers who rate their benefits package as excellent or very good also rate their employer as an excellent or very good place to work.
  • Only 17 percent of employees who consider their benefits package to be fair or poor rate their workplace as excellent or very good.
  • Seventy-nine percent of workers who reviewed benefits in the past year and rated their education as excellent or very good also rate their employer as excellent or very good.
  • Only 30 percent of those who said the education they received was fair or poor give their workplace high marks.

“This research underscores the value of an effective benefits education plan,” he said, “because when an employee understands their benefits, they tend to value them more and, in turn, may then value their employers more for providing access to them.”