Employee Benefit Trends Study 2021

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MetLife Employee Benefit Trends

Redesigning the Employee Experience: Preparing the Workforce for a Transformed World

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With the pandemic’s lasting effects on the workforce, employers should rethink their responsibilities to their employees—and create a holistic work culture that addresses changing priorities in safety, mental health, and more.

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What to Expect from This Report

Exploring multiple datasets and insights that span the last year and a half, this report helps make sense of the pandemic’s trends and implications so that employers can mobilize and problem-solve for a holistically well workforce, now and in the future.

3 Chapters on

Five Trends Changing the Workplace

How Can Employers Promote Resilience?

The Increased Value of Employee Benefits

How Can Employers Promote Resilience?

Resilient people can adapt and even thrive in uncertainty. Ever the problem-solvers, they focus on actions and outcomes within their control.

Employee resilience is the steadying force that helps workers confront change, unknowns, and stress in their new work environment. It’s also the strongest driver of several traits tied to business outcomes, like productivity and engagement.

The most resilient employees are


more productive


more engaged


less stressed than the national average

While more than 8 in 10 employers believe that employee resilience is critical for business recovery, most don’t understand that the pandemic actually weakened employee resilience—instead of reinforcing it. Employee feelings of resilience dropped by 4% since July 2020.  

So how can employers build back resilience among employees for a more productive and engaged workforce? As seen in MetLife’s 2021 Employee Benefits Trends Study, these three actions can help:

Employees who have flexibility are


more productive


more likely to be resilient

Employees are resilient when

They are satisfied with the frequency and clarity of communications from their employer


Video: Employers need benefits that support financial wellnesss 

More than half of employees are concerned about their financial health, more than any other aspect of well-being.

Watch how financial wellness programs can make all the difference:

Why Financial Wellness?

Financial wellness programs help employees stay on top of all of life's money matters - alleviating stress and improving wellbeing.

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The Increased Value of Employee Benefits

The workforce is more diverse and faces more challenges than ever before. This necessitates taking a more holistic approach to benefits that focuses on providing a wide range of options for employees and their families.

A holistic, employee-first view of benefits recognizes and supports the interconnectedness of benefits to support financial, physical, mental, and social health—while giving employees what they want: more choices. But how do you create such a strategy?

Video: Shift perceptions of benefits

A key to the success of this holistic approach is to shift perceptions of benefits from a product-by-product model to one that treats benefits as a suite of products that work together across employees’ changing life stages and personal needs.

See how benefits can make an impact on your business:

An Evolving Benefits Approach

No one size fits all meets today's diverse challenges. Learn why an employee-first approach to benefits helps build productivity.

Benefit Frameworks Can Improve Understanding  

Grouping benefits by their functional role and the kind of support they provide makes it easier for both employees and employers to see how benefits can solve different life changes and meet potential financial challenges. Benefits are critical to employee's safety, protection and well-being. Demand has changed with the pandemic-era workforce.

Interactive tool: Explore what employees consider must-have benefits to focus your benefits strategy

Filter by industry, company size and employee demographics in the interactive tool below:

To experience the data visualization fully, click here.

A Five-Step Communication Plan for Benefits Education  

Employees have varying levels of understanding when it comes to benefits—and benefits communications should reflect these differences. But those communications should be ongoing: While open enrollment is still the most critical time to consider and select benefits, there is great value in year-round outreach.

Driving communications through multiple touchpoints and time periods helps promote understanding, engagement, and utilization. The below action plan can be used as a model to guide benefit communications so that employees understand their package and what benefits are right for them and their families.

See how a people-first approach to benefits and communications can bolster workforce productivity in MetLife’s 2021 Employee Benefits Trends Study.


Employees feel more successful when

Their employer’s benefits communications are easy to understand


Want the full study?

Download now to access all insighs from MetLife's 2021 Employee Benefit Trends Study.

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