Well, it’s that time of year again – the fantastic, wonderful time to process Open Enrollment. I hear more HR professionals tell me, “It’s Open Enrollment. I don’t have time for anything else,” than what I can share here. Suffice it to say, it’s a subject a lot of HR professionals wouldn’t mind doing without!

Yet, benefits are one of the most important aspects of the majority of employee’s jobs. Acceptable benefits increase retention. According to the 2011 Mercer Workplace Survey, 79% of employees agreed that “My benefits are one of the reasons I work where I do.” Further, 76% of respondents agreed with the statement, “My benefits make me feel appreciated by my company.” And 91% agreed that, “Getting health benefits through work is just as important to me as getting a salary.” So, it’s hard to deny the importance of benefits and the relevance they play in keeping valuable employees on board and engaged with your company.

So, if you’re sitting at your desk discouraged by the thought of open enrollment, remind yourself of the above and how what you’re doing is critical to your company’s success. After all, it’s your employees that bring the talent, knowledge, skills and abilities to the table to make your company productive and give it the competitive edge.

To learn more about the 3 trends leading businesses use who have demonstrated a commitment to offering outstanding benefits, go to

Over the past decade, the “best” U.S. companies have adapted their benefits offerings to meet changing employee needs, according to The Principal Financial Group’s annual 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security competition.

The 2011 winners demonstrate the following:

1. Shifting from do-it-for-them to do-it-with-them. The “best companies” make a commitment to share in the cost of benefits and help employees learn and make the best decisions possible about how to utilize their benefit dollars.
2. Changing from cookie-cutter to customized benefit programs: The leading companies build in flexible, creative benefit options that target younger workers’ needs versus older workers’ needs, for example. Different demographic groups have different priorities and look for benefits specific to their needs at the stage of life they find themselves in.

Additionally, “best companies” engaged employees in helping shape benefit programs, using employee surveys, focus groups and employee committees in order to understand their wants and needs.

3. Viewing security as financial and physical: “Best companies” use a holistic approach, tying financial security to physical health and wellness as a way to lower healthcare costs for both the company and the employee. Many employers reward employees for participating in wellness programs and ensure their companies offer biometric screenings, health risk assessments and health coaches
(Source: ‘Best Companies’ Take Collaborative Approach to Benefits, SHRM. 9/1/2011)

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