Faced with Record-Low Unemployment, More Employers Are Investing in Employee Benefits Rather than Reducing Costs

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., November 1, 2018 – Attracting and retaining talent remains the number one operational priority of 60 percent of employers according to the forthcoming 2018 Gallagher Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey. That figure has increased two percentage points from 2017, and is in sharp contrast to the 37 percent of employers who ranked controlling benefit costs as the top priority, a figure that declined six percentage points from 2017. And nearly half (45 percent) of employers chose not to increase employee cost sharing of healthcare benefits.

“While keeping a lid on costs is always important, we are seeing a clear shift in the market as employers are having to compete more aggressively for talent in the face of the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years,” said William F. Ziebell, President, Gallagher Employee Benefits Consulting and Brokerage. “Today’s workforce is comprised of five very different generations, meaning it is no longer good enough to simply offer standard medical coverage and a competitive retirement plan. The 2018 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey uncovered best practices that address employees’ total wellbeing, which will positively impact organizational retention and recruitment efforts.”

Employers Taking a Holistic View of Employee Wellbeing

The Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey found forward-thinking employers are taking a more holistic view of employee wellbeing and developing strategies that both engage and appeal to their team. For example, more than half of employers (55 percent) now provide a telemedicine component, allowing employees to virtually connect with clinicians. That is an increase of more than 100 percent from 2016, when just 24 percent of employers utilized telemedicine. In addition to saving employees time, telemedicine has been shown to reduce expenses for both employers and employees.

The report also found employers are looking for ways to reduce medical expenses by encouraging their employees to live healthy lifestyles. The most popular physical wellbeing benefits include flu shots, tobacco cessation programs, health risk assessments and biometric screenings.

Because financial stressors can negatively affect productivity, financial wellbeing proved to be another area of interest for employers. More than six out of ten employers (62 percent) now offer employees access to financial advisors and nearly half (47 percent) provide financial-literacy education to help employees make better saving and spending decisions. The research also showed 43 percent of employers are taking steps to gauge employee retirement readiness, compared to previous years (33 percent in 2016).

Identifying and Changing Benefits Based on Employee Preferences

Because the tightening labor market has made it easier for top employees to leave their jobs voluntarily, more employers are tweaking existing benefits or adding new offerings. The goal is to provide employees with more choices that will better fit their own lifestyles and needs. Examples include:

• Health Benefits Choice: More than one in five employers (22 percent) now offer employees three medical insurance plans, and 13 percent offer four or more options.

• Tuition Assistance: Nearly half (46 percent) of employers provide tuition assistance, which is up from 42 percent in 2017. The most common tuition reimbursement amount totaled $5,250 annually per employee.

• Life Insurance: Nine of ten (89 percent) employers said they now offer employees life insurance, which is a five percent increase from 2017.

• Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): 70 percent of employers provide access to EAPs, which is an 11 percent jump from 2017.

Small Segment of Employers Fully Engage Employees around Workplace Benefits

Given many employee rosters include a multigenerational workforce, it has become increasingly important for employers to offer benefits that appeal to each segment of their workforce. Surprisingly, just 13 percent of employers said they have a comprehensive communication strategy to guide how they collect and share benefits information with employees, and most (74 percent) noted they have a communication strategy for just some of their benefits and wellbeing offerings.

“More than half of employers (59 percent) expect to increase their headcount over the next two years. That will be a challenge considering there are currently more job openings than individuals to fill those positions,” Ziebell said. “As a result, employers must get smarter about working within their budgets to offer benefits and compensation packages that engage their teams. At the same time, it will be imperative for organizations to clearly communicate the offerings and measure their effectiveness. The days of ‘set it and forget it’ in regards to compensation and benefits are over.”

For more information about the 2018 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey, visit: www.ajg.com/NBS-2018.

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ABOUT GALLAGHER
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG), a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The company has operations in 34 countries and offers client service capabilities in more than 150 countries around the world through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

ABOUT THE BENEFITS STRATEGY & BENCHMARKING SURVEY
Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., the employee benefits consulting and brokerage operation of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., developed the Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey to provide employers with insights into how their peers are addressing benefit and human capital challenges. The 2018 survey, conducted from January to April of this year, aggregates responses from 4,241 organizations across the U.S. Additional survey results can be found at www.ajg.com/NBS-2018.

Detroit Regional Chamber Launches “Let’s Detroit” Talent Attraction and Retention Tool

LetsDetroit.com engages talent by connecting them to their peers through a website, one-of-a-kind texting function, social media and events.

DETROIT, Sept. 20, 2018 – With 36 percent of Michigan college graduates leaving the state within a year of graduation, the Detroit Regional Chamber and its partners created Let’s Detroit to attract and retain the talent to Southeast Michigan. Using a website, “Text a Detroiter” function, and social media engagement, the platform aims to achieve three main objectives: improve the narrative around Detroit and Southeast Michigan, increase the number of graduates retained, and cultivate an innovative, engaged and culture-focused business community to drive economic prosperity.

“Regional businesses have continued to indicate the No. 1 issue they have is attracting and retaining talent,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Let’s Detroit will increase retention of talented professionals fleeing to cities like New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles by helping them connect to the Detroit region, in a way they will respond to.”

Let’s Detroit showcases local ambassadors in several focus areas and creates a platform for others to connect and find their community. There are texting and employment ambassadors that are the voices representing the Detroit region to their peers. These individuals are the young professionals and others who are immersed in their communities and want to help others get connected.

  • Employment ambassadors are people currently engaged with a Southeast Michigan professional industry group willing to connect with users about their field of work via LinkedIn, Twitter, email, or potentially text. Users will reach out to ask questions, get advice, and how to expand their network.
  • “Text a Detroiter” ambassadors are people who love to text and want to share knowledge about their communities with others. Texting ambassadors select topics they want to talk about (i.e. networking events, nightlife, places to eat, etc.) and users connect through a protected, third party number to ask questions, get recommendations and learn.

The Chamber conducted global and local research on what successful regions are doing to retain and attract talent and it revealed key findings that led to Let’s Detroit:

  • Human resource professionals need help attracting talent to the region.
  • Young professionals don’t want to be marketed to; they want to make a difference in their communities; and they need an “in” to help navigate career, social and other aspects of the region.
  • Talent in Southeast Michigan cares most about their career path, as well as other quality of life aspects like regional transit, placemaking and recreation.

To ensure the process was collaborative, the Chamber brought together a talent retention working group of nearly 100 public, private, nonprofit and grassroots organizations across Southeast Michigan to provide insight and feedback throughout the process.

The launch of Let’s Detroit was generously supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In addition, The Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED) is an active partner in the development of Let’s Detroit in coordination with their statewide “Choose Michigan” initiative. Through this effort, Let’s Detroit can serve as a wireframe for other regions in the state if they want to implement a similar talent strategy. To continue to be successful, the Chamber is seeking additional support for the Let’s Detroit platform. Please visit LetsDetroit.com to explore and learn more.

 About Let’s Detroit

Let’s Detroit was created by the Detroit Regional Chamber to retain the young talent leaving the state. Using a website, texting communication, and social media engagement, the program aims to achieve three main objectives: improve the narrative around Detroit and Southeast Michigan, increase graduates in Southeast Michigan, and cultivate an innovative, engaged and culture-focused business community to drive economic prosperity. Let’s Detroit was launched to help achieve the Chamber’s goal of increasing postsecondary education attainment in the region to 60 percent by 2030. Explore at LetsDetroit.com.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. As the voice for business in the 11-county Southeast Michigan region, the Chamber’s mission is carried out through creating a business-friendly climate and value for members, leading a robust economic development strategy, and convening Michigan’s most influential audience at the nationally unique Mackinac Policy Conference.

Media contact: Kelly Weatherwax, kweatherwax@detroitchamber.com, 313.596.0360

 

Help Detroit Drives Degrees Attract and Retain Talent in Southeast Michigan

Talent retention and attraction is a main focus of Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative, following college (access) and graduate (success), keeping homegrown talent in the region is important to boost the economy and improve our communities. Unfortunately, only about 40 percent of graduates currently remain in Southeast Michigan post-college to start their careers.

The D3 talent working group consists of leaders across Southeast Michigan working in talent retention, attraction, and placemaking. The main mission of the group is to increase the amount of educated talent living in the region so the working group focuses on retaining existing residents with postsecondary degrees and attracting new talent to the community.

To get a better picture of existing talent strategies, challenges, opportunities and community assets, the working group launched a public survey this week. The survey asks if you are a longtime resident, newcomer, boomerang, ex-pat or college student to take the survey which outlines a series of questions for each group of people. For example, longtime residents can expect to answer questions about their community’s hidden gems, comment on their connection to changes happening in Detroit and share ideas about how residents can get connected to their community. Newcomers, on the other hand, can expect to share their experience moving to the region and how they embraced their community.

In addition, we ask that everyone share the questionnaire with friends, family, colleagues and neighbors so we can collect perspectives from a diverse group of people representing all corners of the region.

The survey closes on Friday, May 19 and results and key ideas will be promoted following so everyone can benefit from the information we collect. The working group will dive deep into the results and create a strategy to improve talent retention and attraction outcomes. We’re hoping to collect impactful and creative ideas from the survey so we need YOU to participate!

Can you help spread the word? Feel free to use the text below to promote via email or social media.

How can the region better keep existing residents and attract new ones? Take this survey to share your experiences and ideas https://goo.gl/forms/Yx3w74LoxIBBsSuC2 @DetroitChamber #D3Talent #DetroitDrivesDegrees

Want to get involved? Feel free to contact me at scraft@detroitchamber.com.

And don’t wait! Take the survey right now.