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Survey: Many Employees Want Help Understanding Benefits

Industry Trends and Research

Findings from a new consumer survey reveal that many working Americans remain confused about their workplace benefits and will be turning increasingly to their employers for help in 2021.   

More than a third (35%) of employed individuals report not fully understanding any of the employee benefits they enrolled in during their most recent open enrollment period, according to the results of a new Voya Financial survey. And this level rises significantly among younger workers—with more than half of Millennials (54%) reporting that they don’t understand their benefit selections.

As a result, a majority of working Americans are eager for education, guidance and support. Two-thirds of employees (66%) indicated they want their employer to help them better understand their employee benefits throughout 2021—not just at open enrollment. This number jumps for younger workers, with 78% of Millennials reporting they would like more communications about their workplace benefits throughout 2021. 

Additionally, 73% of employees are interested in support and guidance tools that help them understand how much money to put aside for retirement, emergency savings and health care expenses. “Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic taught many individuals that they need to be ready for the unexpected, which includes protecting themselves from unplanned health-related expenses that could deplete their emergency and retirement savings,” notes Rob Grubka, president of Voya Employee Benefits.

Voya’s survey also shows that nearly 6 in 10 American workers (56%) spent more time reviewing their benefits offered by their employer during the fall open enrollment period. “This is good news suggesting that many employees did not simply hit the ‘default button’ during open enrollment and likely signed up for additional workplace benefits,” says Grubka. “The challenge now in 2021—especially among younger workers, like Millennials—is providing ongoing support and education to help employees understand how to maximize their new benefit selections to address their holistic financial wellness needs.”

“Plus, with COVID-19 shining a spotlight on the need for greater financial security, the challenge for employers moving forward will be connecting health and wealth benefits as their employees continue to have an increasing need for budgeting, planning and guidance resources,” adds Andrew Frend, SVP of Product and Strategy, Voya Employee Benefits.

Frend emphasizes that benefits providers can help employers by providing education programs, as well as year-round communication campaigns and digital tools to help their employees understand and maximize their workplace benefits.  

The findings are based on a survey conducted Dec. 17-18, 2020, through Ipsos on behalf of Voya Financial among 1,005 U.S. adults.