SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

August 13, 2008 10:00 ET

Benefits Programs Focus on Keeping Employees Healthy

Companies Stress Wellness, Disease Management, and Promote Better Self-Management

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - August 13, 2008) - With the cost of maintaining employee benefit programs going through the roof, organizations are taking a cue from Ben Franklin that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Employers are placing new emphasis on keeping employees healthier to prevent medical problems. These and other key findings are revealed in the new benchmark report, "Taming the Benefits Management Beast: Driving Costs Down and Satisfaction Up," from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS).

"Medical insurance is far and away the most expensive benefit item being offered by organizations, and it can be a budget buster," according to David Weldon, research analyst, human capital management at Aberdeen and author of the report. "The answer is not found in reducing medical insurance coverage, but in findings ways to make it less needed." Cases in point include wellness programs and disease management programs, both of which attempt to reign in the need and cost of other health care by keeping employees more healthy.

But as important as it is to gain control over benefit program costs, Best-in-Class organizations understand the need to still provide a full slate of benefit items that attract and retain workers, and are the ones that make sense for their employee needs. "The gains for the organization include increased retention and job satisfaction, and decreased budget and administrative costs," Weldon remarks.

Benefits management programs at Best-in-Class organizations are credited with increasing employee job satisfaction by 11% and employee retention by 15%. At the same time, the Best-in-Class have reduced the administrative burden on HR of managing benefits programs by 6%, and decreased the benefit program cost per employee by 7%.

Key to realizing the above gains is the involvement of employees in their own benefits program -- from having a voice in which benefit items are included in the plan, to having online access to view individual plan data, to having a greater role in managing the plan, to being surveyed periodically to ensure the plan continues to best serve their needs.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Ceridian and iEmployee. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4887.

To access all of Aberdeen's complimentary research please visit http://research.aberdeen.com.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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