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Great Employee Benefits Aren’t Just Good for Workers, Study Finds

 
A commitment to employees' financial well-being creates a competitive advantage, research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found. It translated into increased employee engagement, stronger customer relationships and deeper organizational expertise, according to the study, which was sponsored by the Principal Financial Group.

Even as many companies chose to pull back on employee benefits as a way to save money during the recession, those that maintained or expanded their offerings are reaping the benefits, according to the report.

These companies' approach to employee financial security is the basis of abenefits program new report, “Commitment to the Future: 10 Years of The Principal 10 Best Companies” from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. The study sought to uncover what has made the winners of The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security successful and how other companies can learn from their experiences.

"As one HR director puts it, you can't have customer satisfaction without employee satisfaction. A good benefits program's connection to employee security, motivation and performance couldn't be more clear," said Angelia Herrin, research and special projects editor of Harvard Business Review.

Among the highlights of the report:

  • Benefits are a reliable investment. Investments in employee benefits save the company money in the long-run, survey respondents reported. They did so by reducing turnover, which had consequences beyond just cutting recruiting costs. Reduced turnover helps build expertise, they report notes, citing the example of Placid Refining Company, a Dallas-based oil and gas discovery business that manufactures products at extremely high temperatures. The company reported that they have had no serious on-the-job injuries due to retaining skilled employees.
  • Health care costs are a universal concern. Respondents to the survey said the biggest issue on the horizon is managing benefits costs coupled with growing concern over the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- PPACA. Many of the companies are adding wellness programs to help control those costs and improve employees' lives.
  • Workers appreciate financial assistance. Financial professionals can be invaluable to help sift through options, including for voluntary benefits, and identify opportunities to maximize value. Many of the companies provide their employees with one-on-one access to financial professionals.
  • Good benefit communications is crucial. The survey respondents reported placing a great deal of emphasis on communication, including explaining the value of benefits to employees. As Karen Rhodes, director for Texarkana, Texas-based Red River Credit Union put it, "a benefit not understood is not appreciated."
Learn more about The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security and read the full report at www.principal.com/10bestresearch.

Winston Benefits is a HR solutions company that helps businesses automate and streamline their employee benefit programs. Custom designed and developed client specific solutions help enrich their total compensation and rewards programs while optimizing processes such as benefit communications, enrollment and administration.

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