This research from Guardian’s 4th annual Workplace Benefits Study provides insight into the struggle employers continue to have in balancing short-term and long-term benefits demands.

Employers recognize that employee benefits add value to their organizations, but short-term strategies around cost containment and compliance can compromise that value. As traditional approaches become less effective, there is increasing recognition of the need for longer-term benefits strategies that support overall workforce well-being.


Some research highlights include:


  • Six in 10 employers feel overwhelmed with the increased complexity of managing their benefits programs.  Larger firms (100 or more employees) are struggling the most (69 percent) especially with installing new coverages, changing carriers, and employee communication and enrollment.
  • Controlling costs and keeping benefits affordable for their workforce remain employers’ top benefits priorities, but traditional approaches are proving to be less effective, causing some employers to shift strategies. 
  • Less than one in three companies believe that employee cost-sharing and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) have been highly successful in achieving cost-cutting objectives. 
  • Compliance is the number one benefits-related concern for more than one in four employers surveyed, yet less than one-third indicate that their companies are well-prepared to address it. 
  • Seven in ten companies believe their firms are unable to keep up with changes to federal, state or local laws, including the Affordable Care Act, paid parental leave laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 


Source for all statistics cited is The Guardian Workplace Benefits Studysm: Fourth Annual, 2016.