Smallest businesses lead the way with personalized benefits

COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 29, 2019) — People who work at the smallest U.S. businesses understand their employee benefits the best, according to a new survey from Colonial Life. 

And a personalized focus in benefits education could be why. 

In a survey of 1,506 full-time U.S. employees, Colonial Life found 47% of employees who work for companies with fewer than 100 employees report understanding their benefits “very well.” Workers at larger businesses are less confident in their benefits understanding: Only 33% of employees who have more than 100 coworkers report understanding their benefits that well. 

One reason employees at the smallest companies understand their benefits better is their employers’ commitment to personalized benefits education, says Colonial Life’s Richard Shaffer, senior vice president for growth markets. 

“While it can sometimes seem like a challenge for small employers to offer top benefits, they engage their employees with personalized benefits education to ensure they are protecting their families, their finances and their futures,” Shaffer said. 

“In this way, large businesses should be learning from their small business counterparts.”

That’s great news for the more than 5 million U.S. employers who have fewer than 100 employees, according to the Small Business Administration.

Employers with more than 100 workers are more likely to depend on email (58%), websites (49%) and mailed packages (30%) to educate employees about benefits, according to the survey While 34% of businesses smaller than 100 employees also rely on email, they focus more attention on personalized individual and group meetings with HR professionals.

Nearly 25% of employees at the smallest businesses say individual meetings with benefits experts are available to them, compared to just 14% at employers with more than 100 workers. And 37% of the smallest employers have group meetings with HR professionals to discuss benefits, compared to just 29% of larger employers.

“Offering tailored benefits communication to employees doesn’t have to be expensive,” Shaffer said. “In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all if you partner with a high-quality benefits provider that makes benefits education a top priority and offers highly trained benefits counselors for enrollments.”

About the Study
Colonial Life worked with Dynata to conduct a survey of 1,506 full-time U.S. employees between 18 and 70 years of age between Jan. 28 and Feb. 1, 2019.