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Closing the Gap

This research brief from Guardian’s 4th Annual Workplace Benefits Study reveals that a majority of working Americans believe they have the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about their benefits to set them on a path toward employee well-being. But, research indicates they are overestimating their knowledge.

Employees don’t understand their employee benefits as well as they think

80% of working Americans say they understand their workplace benefits very well. However, there is evidence that they may be overconfident. When given a simple 10 question true-false IQ quiz that tested their knowledge about employee benefits:

  • The average grade was a 72, with 51% of working Americans earning a grade of C or below
  • 1 in 5 working Americans received an F

Can working Americans be hurt by what they don’t know about employee benefits?

A poor understanding of workplace benefits can lead to workers being unprepared when it comes time to make selections as part of their benefits enrollment. The result? Misguided decisions where employees are not optimizing their insurance and retirement benefits, leaving them under-protected.

Results of Guardian’s employee benefits IQ quiz indicate workers have the most trouble with the following when it comes to employee benefits knowledge:

  • Insurance terminology
  • Supplemental health coverage and how benefit payments can be used
  • The percentage of salary that disability insurance usually replaces

There are things employers can consider to better support employees during their benefits enrollment

The workplace remains an integral part of working American’s financial security. With only about 50% of employees having a good understanding of their workplace benefits, more can be done to help them make benefits decisions. And most employers want to do so – “helping employees make better benefits decisions” is their second most important benefits strategy behind “making plan design changes to reduce costs”.

Here are workers’ top suggestions for what would help most:

  • Simple, clear explanation of benefits
  • Personalized information tailored to employees
  • Access to expert guidance to answer questions
  • Online support including interactive tools

In the end, research findings show that more effective communications can lead to employees valuing their workplace benefits more and having increased loyalty to the companies they work for.

Read the research brief to learn more.


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