A new book released today provides strategies to help employers in today’s business climate control costs and maximize their benefits dollars as they strive to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce. To help drive business results and optimize benefits programs, employers should view their benefits strategies from a fundamentally new perspective, according to The Benefits Edge: Honing the Competitive Value of Employee Benefits authored by Dr. Ronald Leopold, vice president of MetLife Institutional Business.  Based on extensive research, The Benefits Edge introduces an innovative benefits framework that provides a systematic view to making more strategic benefits decisions.  A complimentary copy of the book can be requested at

“The research and industry insights contained in The Benefits Edge indicate that employers cannot maximize the ROI of their benefits offerings if they do not align their business goals with the goals of employees (security, fulfillment and personal relevance).  Employee benefits are strategic tools that can enable employers to strengthen connections with their employees, which is important given that good talent is a perennial source of competitive advantage.  The book provides a blueprint of a new benefits framework to help employers manage their business for success,” says Dr. Leopold.

The Benefits Edge is designed to help benefits decision-makers maximize the value of their employee benefits spend by looking at benefits as a strategic investment in the key business goals of employee productivity, retention and attraction. After reading the book, brokers and employers should be better positioned to 1) assess the competitiveness of their benefits programs; 2) reorient the benefits discussion with senior management; and 3) craft actionable solutions for a challenging economy that are sustainable over the long-term.

The New Benefits Framework

In The Benefits Edge, the reader is encouraged to step back and assess whether their benefits resources are appropriately allocated across a framework of four fundamental benefits categories.  Further, each category transforms a traditional approach into a much broader value proposition – medical coverage is broadened to health and well-being; retirement accounts are expanded to overall financial security; and time-off policies and voluntary benefits are part of larger life balance needs and fulfillment.  By also considering an all-encompassing element of the employee experience – coordination, communication and delivery of benefits and education – the book presents a framework that helps attain true competitive differentiation and advantage

              Medical Coverage              -->             Health & Well-Being  
              Retirement Accounts          -->             Financial Security 
              Time-Off Policies                -->             Life Balance 
              Benefits Administration       -->             Employee Experience

The new framework should help employers develop more effective benefits programs by:

1) encouraging healthy lifestyle choices so that employees can be more productive when at work, while health costs are driven down; 
2) creating a partnership that allows employees to access the information they need to feel  more in control of their personal finances and to make progress in saving for retirement; 
3) addressing the diverse challenges employees face when dealing with the demands of both work and family; 
4) recognizing the potential to improve employees’ everyday quality of life in ways that will attract workers and build their engagement, loyalty, and productivity.

Four Employer Profiles
Through Dr. Leopold’s research, he found that all employers, regardless of their size, industry and other demographic factors, fall into one of four profiles when it comes to their benefits offerings in comparison to their competition. He has termed these profiles: “Traditional,” “Standard”, “Flexible,” and “Progressive.” The Benefits Edge contains a worksheet to help employers determine their profiles. Understanding an employer’s profile can help in determining which benefits investments will be most effective given the employer’s culture and budget.

“It is important for employers to realize that a greater investment in employee benefits programs does not necessarily mean a greater benefits spend. Supporting voluntary benefits, providing access to educational resources, and improving benefits communications should also be considered part of the ‘investment’ equation. The actual monetary investment in benefits programs can vary widely among the profiles, so The Benefits Edge offers action plans that can be customized within each profile type,” adds Dr. Leopold.

“The Benefits Edge creates a new benefits paradigm for benefits managers, CFOs and brokers,” said Dallas L. Salisbury, President and CEO, Employee Benefit Research Institute. “The book’s holistic framework helps employers maximize the value of their benefits spend by shifting the conversation away from benefits as an expense to benefits as an investment. This new framework shows companies how to strengthen employee engagement and satisfaction – in turn driving employee retention, attraction and productivity."

The Benefits Edge: Honing the Competitive Value of Employee Benefits is the second book authored by Dr. Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH, who focuses on the future of work, health and benefits. He is also the author of A Year in the Life of a Million American Workers, an almanac of absence data that provides a comprehensive picture of one million American workers and their health conditions, illnesses and absence patterns over a one-year period. Dr. Leopold is a board certified occupational medicine physician who holds a Masters in Business Administration.

MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. For more information, visit


Karen Eldred