ADP Media Center

Forty Percent of Employees Don't Understand Their Benefit Options

While more companies push benefits decision-making to employees, new ADP survey shows need for increased communications, decision support tools and mobile applications

Media Contact:
Bob Nersesian
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
ADP, Inc.
(973) 974-7820

ROSELAND, New Jersey -- December 13, 2011 -- A new ADP® survey shows a wide gap between the goals and reality of how employees understand their benefit plans. Eighty percent of HR decision makers believe it's important for employees to fully understand their benefit options, yet they estimate only about 60% of their own employees do – a finding with serious implications for how companies communicate one of the most important parts of their employees' total compensation.

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"With many employees asked to take on greater responsibility for managing their own benefits, there is room for improvement by HR departments to engage employees in the decision-making process," said Tim Clifford, President of Benefits Services at ADP, Inc., a leading provider of human resources management, payroll and benefits administration services. "With the power of web-based and mobile technologies and decision support tools, we have new, innovative and cost-effective ways of educating employees and helping them make critical choices anytime and anywhere."

The ADP HR/Benefits Pulse Survey on Employee Benefit Tools was conducted by the ADP Research Institute, a specialized group within ADP which provides insights for leaders in both the private and public sectors around issues of human capital management, employment trends and workforce strategy. The online survey engaged 501 HR decision-makers from midsized-to-large companies, ranging from 50 to over 1,000 employees. Survey respondents were evenly split with 251 midsized companies (50-999 employees) and 250 large companies (1,000+ employees) participating.  Following are the top findings:

Employee Benefits Communications: Budgets Are Being Squeezed

It is unlikely this will change in the near future as HR decision-makers at about half of companies say their budget has remained the same in the past year and only a minority expect it to increase in the next one or two years.

Decision Support Tools: Tools Increase Employee Understanding Of Benefits

Mobile Applications: New Tools Becoming Common in the Workplace

Web-based Portals: Portals Are Ubiquitous in the Workplace

About the ADP HR/Benefits Pulse Surveys: The ADP HR/Benefits Pulse Surveys are quarterly surveys executed by the ADP Research Institute on key topics that are top-of-mind among HR and benefits professionals.  Conducted from July 6th through 18th, the Employee Benefits Tool survey asked 501 HR decision-makers to respond to a 10-minute online questionnaire.  ADP was not identified as the study sponsor.  The study universe was a statistically projectable random sample of all U.S. enterprises with 50-999 (251 interviews) and 1,000 or more (250 interviews) total U.S. employees. Federal, state, and local government and public education were excluded from the study universe.

The survey respondents were policy change decision-makers or purchase decision-makers for systems/services in HR and benefits.  Titles/functions included:

For more information on the ADP HR/Benefits Pulse Survey on Employee Benefit Tools, please go to To listen to a pre-recorded complimentary webinar on these findings, please register at

About the ADP Research Institute

The ADP Research Institute is a specialized group within ADP which provides insights for leaders in both the private and public sectors around issues of human capital management, employment trends and workforce strategy.

About ADP

Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADP), with about $10 billion in revenues and approximately 570,000 clients, is one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. Leveraging over 60 years of experience, ADP offers a wide range of human resource, payroll services, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide superior value to companies of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the world. For more information about ADP or to contact a local ADP sales office, reach us at 1.800.225.5237 or visit the company's Web site at