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2015 Aflac WorkForces Report: The executive summary

The 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report is the fifth annual Aflac employee benefits study examining benefit trends and attitudes. The study captured responses from 1,977 benefits decision-makers and 5,337 employees across the U.S. in various industries.

Study findings by employee income

The 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report explores benefits attitudes and trends affecting high and low wage earning employees, including benefits enrollment and technology, health literacy, job satisfaction and loyalty and financial preparedness. Employers can use this information to better understand how to improve employee engagement with their benefits options and help close their health literacy gaps.

Workers’ financial woes

The economy is showing signs of improving, but Americans’ bank accounts are in need of resuscitation. Put simply, anemic pay raises combined with sharp increases in out-of-pocket health care costs have creditors knocking on many consumers’ doors.

Small business trends

Small businesses aren’t usually known for their competitive benefits packages, but the fifth annual Aflac WorkForces Report shows a distinct shift toward improved workplace offerings for businesses with 3-99 employees. These businesses also seem to be getting ahead of changes to health care, and their employees reveal just how much they really know when making their benefits selections.

The value of voluntary benefits

Financially healthy businesses and employees choose voluntary insurance.


Benefits open enrollment trends

The 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report Open Enrollment Survey examines benefits and HR trends affecting businesses and their employees. Several years of survey data show employees are increasingly going online to enroll in their benefits, as opposed to selecting their benefits using paper forms or call centers.

Waste not, want not

Many Americans spend the last few days of a pay period frantically checking their bank balances. That’s because their accounts are often pennies away from being overdrawn: 62 percent are living paycheck to paycheck, which means the next injection of cash can’t come soon enough.

The perfect team: How voluntary insurance complements high-deductible plans

Knowledge equals power, or at least that’s the idea behind high-deductible health plans, also referred to as consumer-driven health plans. Consumers pay lower premiums but have higher deductibles, which they cover using the money they place in tax-deferred medical savings accounts such as health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements.

Time well spent

Workers spend 10 times more effort on vacation planning, 8 times more effort selecting a computer than on choosing health insurance. When it’s time to select their health insurance options, most Americans do a thorough job of researching the types and amounts of benefits that best meet their unique needs, right?

Multigenerational workplace

When a hiring manager is lucky, the hiring process is like a seller’s market – the supply of potential employees exceeds the demand. But with the brightest employees, it’s usually a buyer’s market – the best employees have their pick of employers. That’s why it’s imperative to offer the total employment package: not just a competitive salary, but perks and strong benefits as well.

Generational research

At any given business, there can be five different generations in the workplace. Millennials can be working alongside their parents. The silent generation can be collaborating with Generation X on the same projects. There’s an age gap between the generations that can reach up to 50 years. With varying options, values and work experiences, each generation is different. Data from the Aflac WorkForces Report adds unique perspectives by asking employees of different generations their opinions on benefits, job satisfaction, savings for out-of-pocket costs and preparedness for unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Each generation has different benefits needs. Understanding these generational differences can help employers ensure they are meeting the needs of all their employees regardless of generation.

Wellness Trends

The fifth annual Aflac WorkForces Report reveals the growing prominence of wellness programs in the workplace and finds possible links between successful programs and the employer's approach to their overall benefits program and strong benefits communications.

More employers are offering wellness programs than ever before. This year, close to half of the 1,977 business decision-makers surveyed reported offering a company-sponsored wellness program, which is up from 30 percent in 2012. Insurance brokers noted a similar trend, and just over half (53 percent) agree1 they regularly recommend wellness programs to their clients.

Use benefits to tame millennials' job-hopping ways

U.S. workers' habits and demands are constantly evolving. Today's employees aren't like those of yesteryear - they don't take jobs and remain in place until it's time to collect a pension and a gold watch. Companies have changed too, making the promise of a pension and a fancy timepiece rare.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials switch jobs an average of every 3.2 years. At that rate, they'll hold 14 jobs over the course of a 45-year career. No company wants to invest time and money into training an employee only to lose that worker to another employer, and especially not to a competitor. Given the importance millennials place on workplace benefits - 24 percent of them say an overall benefits package is extremely important to employer loyalty – benefits options may be key to convincing them to remain in place.

Latino employees value workplace benefits and are looking for opportunities for growth

The National Council of La Raza estimates by 2050 that 1 in 3 working Americans will be Hispanic. These employees desire to be more engaged in benefits and they're looking for new opportunities for growth, but is your company tailoring benefits and communications to their needs? Gain key strategies to boost retention and productivity by adapting your approach to a growing workforce demographic.

About the Study

The 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report was conducted by Research Now on behalf of Aflac.

Archived AWR Results

View previous Aflac WorkForces Report research:

- 2014 AWR Findings
- 2013 AWR Findings
- 2012 AWR Findings
- 2011 AWR Findings