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State of the Workplace Study II 2022

Morgan Stanley at Work’s annual State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study II revealed that the stakes have been raised for companies as employees focus on the role and value of financial workpla

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Inflation, uncertainty and a tight labor market are impacting the way employees look at their financial benefits. They are paying greater attention this year—and many in the workforce are recognizing that their needs are not fully addressed. 

Morgan Stanley at Work’s annual State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study II revealed that the stakes have been raised for companies as employees focus on the role and value of financial workplace benefits, including equity compensation, financial wellness and retirement preparation.1 On the other hand, companies looking to support their talent need to understand the evolving expectations of employees and potentially adjust their offerings to stay ahead.

Some of the core findings1:

When it Comes to Guidance, There’s A Disconnect

More than half (52%) of employees believe that working with a Financial Advisor would be the single most beneficial retirement planning tool for them. But access to a Financial Advisor only tied for third choice among HR leaders—demonstrating a disconnect. With 93% of employees viewing retirement planning assistance as a priority when choosing where to work, closing this gap should be considered “low-hanging fruit” in terms of meaningful improvements.

Equity Compensation: Much More Than a “Bonus”

With talent and expertise in high demand among employers, equity compensation continues to be an effective strategy for attracting highly mobile workers. This year, 95% of HR leaders and 80% of employees consider it to be the most effective way to motivate employees—a notable increase since last year. 

More Education Is Necessary

As current economic impacts have increased financial stress among employees, they are increasingly looking to their employers for resources, support and guidance. But employers have not always kept up.

47% of employees reported that they have either never thought to or are unsure if they are allowed to reach out to their employer for help. Better communication with employees regarding their needs is crucial to maintaining a loyal and engaged workforce.

Financial Benefits & Guidance Are A Competitive Advantage

Amid new challenges like high inflation, the call to reassess financial benefits has become so strong that it covers nearly everyone, with 90% of employees and 96% of HR leaders now placing a priority on re-evaluating benefits packages. An overwhelming 96% of HR leaders agree their company must do a better job helping employees maximize the financial benefits offered to them. These are numbers that demand attention.

Employer Support Translates into Employee Performance

Today’s economic environment is challenging for many. Faced with new uncertainties, employees are paying much closer attention to their workplace benefits, a trend that will likely continue. While HR leaders are working to meet those demands, there is still more work to do—for a more in-depth look at what that entails, read the full State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study II.

1 All stats refer to equity compensation administrative services for Shareworks and Equity Edge Online® 2 Stock Plan Participants represents reported participants as of 1Q 2021 with total accounts with vested or unvested assets. Individuals with accounts in multiple plans are counted as participants in each plan. 3 Refers to equity compensation administrative services by E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. and Solium relating to the IPO; Solium 2015-10/2020 (120) + E*TRADE 2015-10/2020 (62). 4 S&P 500 Companies Represented includes companies for which Morgan Stanley provides equity compensation solutions as of 2021. 5 Refers to Shareworks ability to manage equity plans in over 170 countries as of 2021. Check the background of our Firm and investment professionals on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

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