Prudential Identifies the Top 5 Trends

Prudential’s Fifth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today and Beyond illuminates the effects of changing workplace demographics and the economic environment on emerging  employee benefits. The report identifies 5 major trends that are driving employee benefits today.

In this post, we will examine trend #2: worker productivity.

  1. An employee driven benefits model is arising – link to part 1.
  2. Worker productivity is the next frontier in benefits cost management.
  3. Benefits enrollment is being redefined to help workers make better choices.
  4. An increasingly diverse workforce must be addressed.
  5. The realities of preparing for a secure retirement are changing.

Trend #2: Worker Productivity

Employers Rank Worker Productivity a Major Concern

Employers rate worker productivity one of their top concerns, and are increasingly aware of the link to benefits, including wellness benefits and return-to-work disability provisions. Benefits integration is another means through which productivity can be better tracked and impacted.

  • 49% of employers rank worker productivity among their top concerns.
  • 38% say expanding wellness is a highly important strategy.
  •  45% say they are providing accommodations to assist return-to-work following sick absence.
  • 40% are coordinating/integrating some medical,pharmacy,disability and worker’s comp benefits.

Productivity-Focused Employers Have a Strategic Benefits Approach  

Cost sharing and CDHCs are strategies to generate short-term shavings, but employers are increasingly understanding the need to take long-term productivity strategies including wellness, preventative, work/life balance and coordination of benefits. Employers focused on productivity say their benefits strategy is highly linked to their business strategy and financial goals.

Improving Workforce Health is Increasingly Important

Workers report that they are more concerned with work life balance than they were prior to the economic downturn, and employers consider them increasingly important.

  • 60% of employees say work life balance, stress reduction and wellness are highly important. a 10.5% increase.
  • 40% of employers consider wellness/prevention programs highly important benefits strategies.
  • 57% of employers anticipate they will be critical over the next 5 years.

Return-to-Work Incentives Successfully Generate Cost Savings and Increase Productivity

Workers report that they are more concerned with work life balance than they were prior to the economic downturn, and employers consider them increasingly important. Comparing 2010 to 2007:

  • 45% of employers used return-to-work benefits incentives – up from 39%.
  • 66% say the strategy has successfully saved costs.
  • 62% use employee absence programs
  • 73% of these say the programs have improved productivity; 50% say they have been highly effective.

Benefits Integration Promises to Save Costs and Increase Productivity

Although most benefits integration programs are still in the early stages, the expectation is high that they will save health care costs and increase worker productivity.

  • 74% of employers say the programs have lowering health care costs, 22% say significantly so.
  • 85% say the programs have increased productivity, 27% say significantly so.

Data Analytics Are Critical to Benefits Integration

Data analytics are critical to measure improvements in health care costs and worker productivity.

  • 66% of employers are performing some data analytics to measure results across benefits programs.
  • 50% who do not have a strong interest in doing so, and 16%, are extremely interested.
  • 91% of employers reporting success with benefits integration use data analytics across their plans.
  • 57% using data analytics also use predictive modeling to analyze their medical plan results.
  • 53% using predictive modeling pay for these services.


Upcoming posts will highlight the other emerging trends identified in Prudential’s Fifth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today and Beyond.

Snap! principle of productivity-driven employee benefits:

Employers increasingly look for benefits programs to improve productivity through wellness, return-to-work, benefits integration, and data analytics.