One Size Fits All? No Thanks…



How many of your current employees would change jobs in a heartbeat if offered better benefits at a different company? A survey conducted by TIAA’s Nuveen offers this answer: 7 in 10. Specifically, employees are looking for benefits tailored to their life stage, and expect effective communication that helps them leverage the offerings.


What Workers Want

Employees don’t just want benefits. They want benefits that respond to their needs at different life stages, and value employers that offer inclusive options:


After surveying 1,500 full-time U.S. workers, Nuveen, a TIAA company, found that 70% of respondents said they would be willing to switch jobs for better benefits, with younger workers expressing the greatest willingness to move on. “Rather than viewing benefit as a cost, organizations can seize a competitive advantage by treating them as a strategic investment,” stated Nuveen in its Benefits 2.0 report.  Nuveen argued in its report that it is in employers’ best interest to create more inclusive benefits that serve their workforce, as less adequate benefits packages are linked with perceptions of a less accommodating workplace.


Younger workers, for example, tend to show greater demand for education benefits, while older workers show a greater desire for more comprehensive retirement benefits and parental leave. 

Gen Z, in particular, is attracted to education and training benefits, with 66% saying they would consider switching jobs for better access to these perks.


Employees from diverse ethnic and racial groups also prioritize education benefits: “In fact, those respondents were 70% more likely than white workers to rank education perks as a top priority.”  Not surprisingly, of the four generations currently in the workplace, older workers are the most specifically concerned about retirement options, but are likely to be missing out on communications and tactics that could help them build up their savings:


Older workers place greater emphasis on retirement benefits, as 87% of this cohort ranked retirement among their top three most important benefits. However, only 32% of them said they have access to automatic retirement contributions from their employers. 


“While new employees were defaulted into the TDF/ QDIA, more likely to have age-appropriate risk exposure, the more tenured/ older employees were left behind, and not given a chance to take advantage of auto features, because plan sponsors assume they’d be resistant to change,” said Brendan McCarthy, head of retirement investing at Nuveen, in an email response. “Very few participants have the necessary expertise when it comes to retirement investing. That’s why the right plan design, and specifically auto features are so important.” McCarthy said there is value in conducting a reenrollment to enable inclusion of all workers.


Additional findings from the Nuveen research that illustrate the benefit preferences of workers include these life-stage expectations:


  • Gen Z workers…placed more weight on paid time off than their older peers, but they expressed the least satisfaction with their opportunities for taking advantage of this benefit. For example, Gen Z respondents were the least likely to say they could use all their vacation days. In addition, they were more likely to feel that their company culture does not actively encourage taking time off.


  • For parents, family planning and child care benefits are a priority, with 42% saying these offerings have allowed them or their partner to remain at their current jobs. However, Nuveen found that only six in 10 workers have access to such benefits.


  • Paid maternity and paternity leave have become significantly more common than childcare assistance, which Nuveen interpreted as meaning that offerings for parents with older children are lacking.


Although employers are unlikely to be able to address all the expectations about benefits that workers have, making progress is important, not just for employees, but ultimately to the success of businesses: financially secure employees “focus more on work and less on worrying about their finances.”


Protection for Plan Sponsors

As plan sponsors continue looking for ways to address employee benefit expectations, adding protection is a wise idea. Under the high standards of ERISA, mistakes or oversights can quickly lead to investigations and allegations.


Shield your personal and business assets with affordable Fiduciary Liability Insurance from Colonial Surety Company, where a one-year policy, inclusive of 50k Cyber Liability Insurance, costs less than an hour of ERISA defense attorney fees in the event of a mishap. Colonial Surety’s affordable Fiduciary & Cyber Liability Insurance packages are specifically designed to help plan sponsors with:


  • Comprehensive Protection: All our packages include Fiduciary Liability Insurance, ensuring your business and personal assets are shielded from the repercussions of fiduciary breaches. If you face claims of alleged or actual breaches of duty in connection with the employee retirement plan, you’ll be protected with defense costs and penalty limits up to $1,000,000.


  • Cyber Liability protection for the plan and business—including cyber breach response services, as advised by the DOL to prevent cyber incidents from spiraling into fiduciary breach allegations.


  • Cost-Control: Our packages are available for 1, 2, and 3-year terms, providing flexibility and locked-in rates.


If you already have an ERISA bond package with Colonial, you can even lock in your rates by upgrading to the 2 or 3 year package.

Protect yourself, your business and your plan for the go forward:


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