MetLife recently published its annual Employee Benefits Trend Study, which offers a wealth of new data to give insight into the current employee experience and how employers can respond to new challenges and trends affecting employees.
We’ll summarize four critical lessons from the 2023 report and outline how employers can use them to help prepare their businesses for the future.
1. Gen Z’s mounting dissatisfaction.
Since 2019, job satisfaction in the Gen Z workforce has precipitously fallen year over year, from 72% in 2019 to a staggering 60% in 2023. It’s obvious why employers should pay close attention to the experience and outlook of their Gen Z workers, as they are predicted to take up over a quarter of the workforce by 2025. Understanding what drives engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty will be crucial in retaining your talent and attracting the next generation of minds to your organization
2. Employers are out of touch with employee health and wellness.
Reports of financial, mental, physical, and social health were all heavily over-estimated by employers. With employees reporting financial health at 55%, mental health at 65%, and physical health at 67%, employers reported their employees at 83%, 85%, and 87%.
This disparity between employers’ perspectives and employees’ experience should be a red flag for business owners who think they have their thumb on the pulse of their employees’ wellbeing and a wake-up call that reiterates the importance of anonymous surveys and consistent reporting.
3. Financial stress is a major factor in decreasing holistic health.
The number of employees reporting living paycheck to paycheck has risen from 43% in 2022 to 55% in 2023. A whopping 90% report feeling anxiety and financial strain due to inflation, the rising cost of living, and debt. With financial health directly impacting mental health, we can safely say that economic stability plays a significant role in wellbeing, productivity, engagement, and retention.
4. Purpose is a driving factor in retention.
According to the data, purpose plays an important role in retention. 52% of employees lacking purposeful work intended to stay with their organization for the following year in 2021, and this number went down to 30% in 2023. This is especially prevalent in Gen Z workers, 50% of whom reported purposeful work as a “must-have” from their employer. Overall, 58% of all workers reported purposeful work and community impact as a “must-have” when considering joining a company.
Some of this data may feel like a punch in the gut or just another wave of challenges to overcome. But the beauty of data is it allows us to address the problems in front of us more effectively, preparing our organizations to be more resilient and allowing us to make a real impact where it really counts. So what are some lessons we can take away?
Create purpose, within and without
Creating purpose within your organization comes in many different forms. Employees who feel they contribute to something larger than themselves and positively impact the world are more likely to feel engaged in their roles and dedicated to your organization. How do you help create purpose?
- Let people find purpose within their existing roles. Meaning can be found in coaching them to learn leadership skills or helping them develop different skill sets to satisfy their curiosity and keep them coming to the table with new, fresh ideas and recommendations. Encourage your employees to discover their purpose within your organization by drawing it out of them, asking them what makes them light up, and then shaping their role around that.
- Empower workers to participate in their communities by offering paid volunteer time, where they can spend a few days a year volunteering wherever they choose.
- Create a company mission to positively impact your community; whether it’s to reduce office waste or clean up a local public space, take the time to find a way to give back.
- Prioritize DEI efforts within your organization and ask your employees to participate in executing the strategy. Listen to their input and encourage them to engage with your efforts.
Prioritize financial wellness benefits
Help combat rising financial concerns by implementing financially empowering benefits and ensuring your compensation strategy is up to date. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Consider offering student loan repayment benefits, a 401(k) for retirement planning, or an HSA or FSA to help them address health care costs.
- Provide learning opportunities to increase financial literacy within your workforce. Online learning platforms are rife with investing, money management, and savings courses that you can offer your employees to access on their own time.
Stop assuming you know how they’re doing
Stay on top of overall wellness by consistently checking in, running company-wide surveys, and collecting data on health and wellbeing. But don’t stop at collecting the data—be sure you have a strategy for responding to what you learn. Understanding concerns, challenges, and values will help you create a workplace culture that closely targets the key factors that result in happy, dedicated employees.
Building a legacy
It may be heartening to know that employees who see their employer consistently improving their holistic wellbeing and responding to their challenges will feel significantly more taken care of. You don’t have to be a perfect employer. You do have to consistently strive to be better.
Remember, it’s effort over time that makes the greatest impact. In the end, you will have built a positive legacy, growing your business while creating a sense of purpose, belonging, and satisfaction in the lives of those who worked alongside you. It’s the ultimate expression of a win-win!
Content provided by Q4intelligence
Photo by Jacob Lund