Mind the Benefits Gap

To find and retain talent, employers continue to broaden their benefits programs. But employers’ offerings may not be in sync with what workers want.

Franklin Templeton’s 2024 “Voice of the American Workplace” survey found most workers are seeking more financial benefits. Being financially independent is a leading goal and financial benefits, such as an increase in salary or larger 401(k) match, are easily quantified.

At the same time, many employers focus on offering improved health benefits and financial wellness programs. While health care is an important consideration, employees don’t always understand the value of some benefits, resulting in an underutilization of programs. This could also impact their retirement planning and financial security.

The VOTAW survey found 70% of employer plan sponsors have increased the number and quality of their benefits in recent years. At the same time, 72% of employees reported some type of challenge in understanding the offerings. For example, responding to growing demand, 49% of employers introduced financial wellness programs, but only 28% of employees said they took advantage of them.

To achieve the most participation and deliver valued benefits, employers want to know what workers are seeking, and how best to communicate the offerings.