According to a new study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the recession has made a major impact on employee benefits as more human resources workers report a decrease in benefits and more employees are taking bigger responsibility for managing health care costs and retirement savings. These findings were reported in SHRM’s 2011 Employee Benefits Research Report.
The report, which was released last month, showed almost 75 percent of HR professionals reported a negative impact on benefits due to the economy. This is a 5 percent increase over 2010. Regarding pension plans, 93 percent are offering defined contribution plans, as compared to only 8 percent that offer cash balance pension plans.
The report also showed a major decrease in relocation and housing programs over the last five years. In 2011, 25 percent of employers are reportedly offering such programs, compared with 42 percent back in 2007.
The survey also showed workplace flexibility benefits have increased significantly in 2011. More than 50 percent surveyed say their company offers flex time. This is up from 5 percent in 2010. Regarding telecommuting, 20 percent of their companies are offering this option. Back in 2010, that number was only at 17 percent. In an effort to not lose top employees, now more than ever, companies are finding creative ways to reward their employees. These perks are even more important now since HR benefit budgets continue to decrease. Workplace flexibility programs are proving to be a powerful tactic to try to make up for the losses in benefits.
The survey found the percentage of companies offering wellness programs has stayed at about 59 percent in both 2007 and 2011. Analysts found this a bit surprising since companies are working hard to find ways to cut health care costs without reducing or taking away any benefits.
A major analysis of 56 studies that explored the impact of wellness programs found that for every dollar spent on a wellness program, the company can gain six dollars of benefit.
Modern Business Associates is an HR company that focuses on payroll and HR outsourcing. We routinely work with clients on benefits. As a Professional Payroll and HR outsource organization, our clients rely on us to help them effectively deal with these kinds of topics.
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