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December 3, 2019

Speed, Access, and Partnership: Findings from New Research on Employee Benefits Analytics [Part 2]

Artemis Health

Artemis Health recently conducted original research on what employee benefits leaders really want from their partnerships with brokers, consultants, and other partners in the benefits industry. In this series of blog posts, we will recap what we found in the research study, including what benefits leaders told us about their goals, motivations, and challenges. In each part, we will showcase a selection from our larger research paper, which you can find here.

About the research: 

The very nature of employee benefits is changing dramatically — and not least for consultants and brokers. Group plans are becoming more complex. Expectations are rising from employers and employees. And the need for better health, greater productivity, and more favorable financial outcomes are more important than ever. To give consultants and brokers a helping hand in meeting these needs, Artemis Health sought insight into the perspectives of 300 HR and benefits leaders at enterprise organizations across the U.S. We focused on organizations with 5000+ employees across all industries.

Employee Productivity and Satisfaction Are Key

When making decisions about their benefits programs, benefits leaders report their top three goals are to increase employee productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and improve employee health and well-being.

Also rounding out the list we see reducing financial risk, reducing turnover, containing health-care costs, and addressing employee absenteeism.

“Ultimately, benefits leaders want to do a really good job for their organization. They’re the ones who hear from employees when things aren’t going well. Oftentimes they hear from employees who are wrestling with very personal and emotional issues. So it makes sense that they want to do the best job for the organization, but also the employees that make up the organization.”

— Consultant, HR consulting firm

However, when you look at the size of their companies, you’ll see significant differences in how benefits leaders rank their organizational goals. Those at companies with 25,000 employees or more are significantly less likely than those at companies of 5,000 employees to cite employee productivity as a top goal — and they ranked employee health and well-being as their highest goal. Meanwhile, benefits leaders at companies with 10,000 to 24,999 employees were much more likely to report reducing costs as a top goal, ranking it third-most important.

Overall, it’s clear that benefits leaders see employee productivity, satisfaction, and health and well-being as directly tied to their department’s value for the organization as a whole. These three goals also tie into a larger trend that CEOs and CHROs everywhere are prioritizing: the employee experience. 

In fact, research from MIT shows that enterprises with a great employee experience achieve twice the innovation, double the customer satisfaction, and 25% higher profits than organizations with a poor employee experience. Benefits leaders understand that the better they support and equip their employees, the better they support the organization’s strategic goals and outcomes. 

Finally, to help you pinpoint how to create more value with those benefits leaders, we looked not only at what motivates them, but also at how they are being measured. Yes, they’re striving to help the organization meet its goals and improve employee productivity and satisfaction. But how are their bosses measuring their success?

Our study revealed, again, that employee satisfaction takes the cake. But benefits leaders also say their ability to make data-driven decisions is a top success metric. Relatedly, 79% of benefits leaders agree or strongly agree that their ability to provide data-driven insights is essential for demonstrating their value to the C-suite.

Others reported that their ability to reduce costs is also critical to showing their value. This focus by our respondents’ supervisors on cost reduction is surprising, considering that relatively few benefits leaders rated it as a top organizational goal. This shows that although benefits leaders are measured on reducing costs, they focus on the employee experience first. While staying within budget is likely still important — perhaps even table stakes to any good benefits program — they see their top priority as providing value.

This is just the beginning of our research. Stay tuned for additional parts in this blog post series to learn more about benefits leaders’ motivations, perceptions about their brokers and consultants, and relationships with healthcare data analytics.

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