To Thrive, Employers Must Support Workers Inside and Outside of the Workplace

To Thrive, Employers Must Support Workers Inside and Outside of the Workplace

“If employers expect their organizations to thrive, they not only need to rethink the experiences they are creating for employees inside the workplace, but also how they are supporting employees outside of it.”

That’s the core takeaway from page one of MetLife’s latest annual employee benefits trends report, “Thriving in the New Work-Life World,” which is filled with insights employers can use to attract, engage, and retain the best talent.

The report makes clear that work and life are blending more than ever before and, as a result, workers are looking to employers to help them cope. “Employees need an ally,” say the researchers, “and employers can play this role by creating a workplace that not only recognizes employees holistically, but supports them holistically as well. … Traditional and emerging benefits can offer relevant support to employees—and they can be key ingredients for the kind of caring, trusting culture in which employees thrive.”

Why the focus on helping employees thrive?

“Because thriving, happy employees are better employees,” the report states. “They are more engaged in their work, are more loyal to their employers, and more meaningfully contribute to their organizations’ goals.”

Key Stats & Findings
Following are some of the findings from the report, based on MetLife’s 2018 survey of more than 2,600 full-time U.S. workers:


  • Employees’ number one source of stress: personal finances tops the list, regardless of age or life-stage. One in three employees admit to being less productive at work because of financial stress.
  • Stress isn’t exclusively about finances, however—and employers are well positioned to help mitigate many of employees’ other pressures. Whether it’s easing the stress of work itself (the second biggest stressor), tending to personal or family health (the third biggest stressor), or managing personal commitments (the fourth biggest stressor), employers can play a substantial role in transforming the employee experience. The right combination of benefits and experiences can help employees feel more engaged and more cared for—and build the trust that enables them to thrive.
  • Everyday stressors can pose barriers to employees’ happiness and distract them from succeeding at work. And while some of these relate to employees’ personal lives, the role that work can play — in adding to or reducing stress—is a common thread that runs throughout.


  • 67% of employees are satisfied with their benefits—down 4% from last year.
  • Better benefits is the third highest request on employees’ wish lists when it comes to what they need to succeed at work and navigate their work-life worlds. (And 30% of employees would actually be willing to trade a higher salary for better benefits.)
  • 60% of employees are interested in their employers providing a wider array of less traditional, non-medical benefits, even if they have to cover some of the costs themselves
  • 57% of employers are committed to offering their employees a wider range of benefits, including non-medical supplemental benefits like accident insurance, critical illness insurance, and legal services plans.

Benefits communication:

  • Communication is key: if employees don’t understand the role that benefits can play in their lives, they won’t appreciate their full impact.
  • Greater simplicity and clarity are needed: Only 4 in 10 employees strongly believe their employers’ benefits communication is simple to understand.
  • Employers should change the benefits narrative by showing how benefits work together in the context of employees’ lives, needs and sources of stress. This can increase understanding and engage employees in a more meaningful and personal way.
  • Employers should focus on communicating the relevance of the benefits packages they offer, including how benefits work together to play an important and useful role in employees’ lives.

Why Holistic Benefits Are Essential

Why Holistic Benefits Are Essential
The report also notes that, given the current robust job market and low unemployment, workers are less likely to stay with employers who don’t meet their work-life needs. Therefore, employers should design holistic benefits packages that employees can customize to their individual needs and that can be changed as their needs evolve.

Suggestions to help employers create these holistic programs:

  1. Supplement traditional benefits with EAP and well-being programs, which support an array of work-life challenges including mental health counseling, elder-care advice and life coaching.
  2. Provide employees an assortment of experiences and tools that help them better understand their benefits such as videos, guided learning experiences, and real utilization stories from their coworkers.
  3. Offer financial wellness programs featuring resources such as personalized advice, one-on-one guidance, and goal-orientated short- and long-term planning.
  4. Enhance retirement savings programs that offer employees ways to generate income during retirement and strategies for managing their savings so they don’t outlive them.

The report also addresses how employers can contribute to employees’ happiness, sense of purpose at work, and ongoing development—all of which are strong drivers of employee engagement and productivity.

If you’d like to learn more about how our work-life services can help you support employees with both their personal and professional needs, contact us here or call us at 866-675-3751.

The Causes and Costs of Workplace Stress, and What You Can Do About Them

The Causes and Costs of Workplace Stress

Work-related stress is rising, according to the American Institute of Stress, but that doesn’t mean your organization has to be a victim to it. There are ways to lower your employees’ stress levels—and strengthen your employment brand in the process.

Before we explore your stress-busting options, let’s consider some recent data on workplace stress, courtesy of Korn Ferry’s 2018 survey of 2,000 professionals:

  • 65% said their stress levels at work are higher than they were five years ago; 26% characterized their stress as “much higher.”
  • 76% said stress at work negatively impacted their personal relationships.
  • 16% actually quit a job due to stress.

What’s Causing All This Stress?
Asked about their biggest on-the-job stressors, 35% of the Korn Ferry respondents cited their boss, 20% cited a long commute, 19% cited a low salary, 14% cited their coworkers, and 12% cited too much work.

Obviously, not all of an employee’s stress is work related. Asked about stress at home, 55% of respondents said their job productivity is impacted to “some extent” by home-based stress, while 15% said their job productivity is impacted to a “great extent.”

Other potential stressors that erode employees’ performance include financial worries, family issues, health concerns, keeping pace with changes in technology, the pressure to learn new skills and interpersonal conflicts.

What’s Stress Costing You?
Failing to address workplace stress can lead to a variety of negative consequences—not only for your employees and their physical and emotional wellbeing but also for your organization’s bottom line.

Workplace stress contributes to higher rates of absenteeism, according to a 2017 survey of thousands of U.S. workers across all industries conducted by Mental Health America. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they always, often, or sometimes miss work because of stress; 38% of these individuals missed six days a month or more; 35% missed three to five days a month; and an alarming 14% missed more than 21 days.

Beyond absenteeism, a recent Forbes article highlighted what it called “the two primary costs of stress” that often escape employers’ notice: productivity costs and financial costs.

  1. Productivity costs—The article cites a study of 18 U.S. industries, which found that working long hours increases stress levels and lowers average output per hour worked. It also revealed that productivity declines much sooner than expected. “Once workers clocked … more than 48 hours, output started to fall,” the study stated.
  2. Financial costs—The Forbes article also noted that the financial cost of unhealthy workplace environments, including those with high levels of stress, account for about $180 billion in additional healthcare expenditures, which is about 8% of total healthcare spending. These additional expenditures relate to an increased risk of stressed employees developing heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other chronic, costly diseases.

And the costs of workplace stress don’t end there. A special report from the Korn Ferry Institute suggests that stress depresses motivation, which in turn curtails innovation.

So What Can You Do

So What Can You Do?
One of the best ways to combat stress at your organization is to give employees the tools they need to help themselves. High-quality work-life and employee assistance programs are an easy and effective way to deliver these tools.

LifeCare’s integrated work-life and EAP services, for example, provide telephonic and in-person counseling to address the specific work-related, family-related and personal issues that are creating stress and eroding their performance and productivity. Employees have 24/7 access to a nationwide network of providers along with bachelor and master-level specialists who are trained to assist them with child and elder care challenges, substance abuse, financial and legal issues, health concerns and other pervasive causes of stress. We even help companies overcome catastrophic workplace incidents and assist managers in addressing organizational issues that give rise to stress.

You can also take ongoing measures to identify the causes and impacts of stress in your workplace:

  • Conduct employee surveys to evaluate how stress is affecting your workers and to what degree … whether particular teams, departments or functional areas are experiencing more stress than others … and what specific stressors your people are facing.
  • Monitor absenteeism, presenteeism, stress-related illnesses and turnover. As noted above, these are some of the key outcomes of high-stress environments. Tracking these items can help you determine when fluctuations in employee stress occur, why and what specifically you can do to offset them.
  • Conduct exit interviews asking departing employees about job-related stress. They can offer useful insights into causes of stress and what could have been done better to help them.

As employees’ stress levels continue to rise, companies that act now to create less stressful workplaces will surely have an advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

April is National Stress Awareness Month, which makes this the perfect time to give your organization’s stress levels a closer look. Let us know if we can help by contacting us here or call us at 866-675-3751.