As the saying goes, perception is everything, and when it comes to employee satisfaction, there’s a widening gap between employer and employee perceptions of well being: according to new survey data, 83% of employers believe their employees are financially healthy, but only 55% of employees report they are financially healthy.
Correlations between the overall sense of wellbeing employees bring to work and their performance on the job have been well documented in numerous studies. Accordingly, benefit experts point out that it is wise for employees to pay attention to the widening perception gap revealed in current studies:
“The study focuses on the concept of employee care, revealing the profound and measurable impact it has in the workplace,” says Bradd Chignoli, senior vice president …at MetLife…. “Employees’ holistic health and happiness, which are strongly connected to employee productivity and job loyalty.” Employee satisfaction with employer benefits stood at 61%, based on the survey, compared with 83% of employers that say employees are satisfied with the benefits they receive….
More than half, 55%, of workers surveyed reported living paycheck-to-paycheck, up from 43% in 2022; 55% of workers reported feeling in control of their finances, down from 61% in 2022; and 52% of employees reported a three-month saving cushion, down from 62% in 2022, according to the benefit trends data. Employees citing financial concerns as a cause of lower mental health increased to 48% in 2023, from 31% in 2022, driving down lower rates of holistic health, the data showed.
Plan sponsors wondering about how to improve the financial well being of employees, will find it helpful to know that surveys have found that many employees are eager for increased guidance from qualified financial advisors, the latest educational resources, and, planning tools like online dashboards. Although these types of services are typically outsourced, plan sponsors have a continuous fiduciary responsibility to monitor them and ensure participants are benefitting from the plan. Remember, under the high standards of ERISA law, a plan sponsor can be held personally responsible for mistakes in the administration of the plan. Colonial Surety is here to help with affordable Fiduciary Liability Insurance. With this protection, for a few dollars a day, you’ll have coverage for defense costs and penalty limits up to $1,000,000 if faced with alleged or actual breaches of duty in connection with the employee retirement plan. Cyber Liability coverage is included at no extra cost, providing additional protection against regulatory actions related to data and privacy, as well as expert response services.
Time To Lean In?
Not that long ago, it was popular to advice employees to “lean in” to opportunities on the job. Now, after all the disruption of the past few years, it is employers who might find that the recruitment and retention of talented workers requires the business to lean in. Experts remind us: “By demonstrating care…employers will also find themselves with a happier workforce, and individual workers who feel more successful, more appreciated and a greater sense of belonging….” Where to get started? Plan Sponsor shares this advice:
Plan sponsors have a real opportunity to demonstrate care through benefit offerings and, in particular, support employees’ financial wellness….Plan sponsors can consider increasing contribution levels to help alleviate employees’ financial pressures, offer resources to reduce financial stress, including group legal plans with access to attorney and estate planning [and] no-cost tools … to build healthy financial habits and access to student loan forgiveness and repayment options. Employers may invest in several efforts for employees.
- Career development and training;
- Purposeful work, partly demonstrated by their employer acting on environmental or sustainability issues or taking a stand on social or political issues;
- Social and supportive cultures;
- Flexibility and work-life balance (or work-life integration, as it’s sometimes known); and
- Wellness programs and benefits.
As you steer your company retirement plan forward for the benefit of all participants, make sure your ERISA Fidelity Bond, as required by the Department of Labor, is current and adequately covers the plan. Refresh your understanding of ERISA bonds via the Department of Labor’s handout, “Protect Your Employee Benefit Plan With and ERISA Fidelity Bond,” which you can find here. Note too: the Department of Labor requires ERISA Fidelity Bonds be obtained from the Department of the Treasury’s Listing of Approved Sureties (Department Circular 570), such as Colonial Surety Company. Retirement plan sponsors across the country ensure their continuous compliance by choosing our value-packed multi-year options: ERISA Bond Package.
Finally, remember that although required, ERISA bonds are not the same as having Fiduciary and Cyber Liability Insurance to protect yourself and your business. Conveniently, you can obtain all the coverage you need as a plan sponsor, quickly and affordably, right here now: Plan Sponsor Coverage Package.
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Colonial Surety Company is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed and in business all across the country. Serving customers since 1930, we are the trusted source for the pension industry to secure legally required ERISA bonds, fiduciary liability insurance and cyber-liability insurance. With a Trustscore of 4.8, we help safeguard plan sponsors, pension professionals and financial advisors — and keep their businesses compliant — with pain-free, efficient, and friendly service every time.