February 11, 2019

Retirement Plan, Healthcare, Job Security and Workplace Flexibility Most Important, HR Survey Says
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Retirement Plan, Healthcare, Job Security and Workplace Flexibility Most Important, HR Survey Says

Last fall, Emory University Human Resources engaged Mercer, an independent consulting firm, to conduct a benefits and rewards survey of university faculty and staff. A total of 4,011 employees completed the survey, representing an overall participation level of 37% (the participation rate for faculty was 28.5%, for staff it was 40.3% and for librarians, 64.5%).
The purpose of the survey was to establish a baseline measure for what faculty and staff liked about working at Emory. It asked faculty and staff to give input on:

  • What they found most attractive when they first joined Emory University
  • What they find most attractive now
  • Overall satisfaction with the university’s benefits and rewards programs
  • General engagement with working at Emory

Key Findings
1 - Factors of attraction and retention shift with length of service
The type of work and Emory’s brand/reputation ranked as the highest factors in terms of initially attracting individuals to come to work at Emory. However, in thinking about what is most attractive today, elements such as the retirement plan, flexible work arrangements, and time off/leave benefits become more important, while career advancement opportunities and competitive pay have declined in relative importance.


2 - Retirement plan, healthcare, job security and type of work ranked highest
In terms of importance in benefits, Emory’s match on the retirement plan ranked the highest, followed by keeping healthcare costs down and having flexible work arrangements. The retirement match was more valued by older and higher earning employees. Controlling healthcare costs, however, was similar in importance to all age groups and salary levels.

3 - Financial wellness varies by salary level
Slightly less than a third of respondents (29%) described their financial situation as stressful. Relatively small numbers (12%) said they anticipated relying on credit cards to pay bills in the near future, yet one in five would be challenged with an unforeseen expense of $400. One third do not believe they are doing enough to prepare for retirement.

4 - Engagement scores are healthy
Engagement scores are generally favorable:

  • 87% are proud to work for Emory (4% higher than norms in Mercer’s database)
  • 78% would recommend Emory to others as a good place to work (4% higher than norms)
  • 74% feel a strong sense of commitment to Emory (7% lower than norms)
  • 67% are not currently considering leaving employment at Emory (2% lower than norms)

5 - Concern around ability to retire is uniting trend
The ability to retire is the top financial concern among all segments.

Next Steps
A team from Human Resources is analyzing the data collected from the survey, including the 3,900 comments. One point of interest is to understand any differences in preferences between faculty and staff. HR plans to use the survey data in assessing how our benefit programs are meeting the needs of faculty and staff.  While no major changes are anticipated, HR expects the data to help understand faculty and staff priorities as a basis for future planning.

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