Feb. 17, 2011

Employee benefits survey: Coming soon to an inbox near you

by Paula Van Brocklin

What do you think of Iowa State's health care benefits? Are you pleased with them? Which ones do you find most valuable? How well do you understand your retirement options?

Iowa State wants to know what faculty and professional and scientific employees think about the university's health care benefits. To accomplish that task, human resource services (HRS), with assistance from the Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE), will send a survey to all faculty and P&S employees via e-mail within the next few days. Merit employees are not included in the survey because their benefits are part of the State of Iowa collective bargaining plan.

Why now?

HRS currently has no data on what employees think of the university's benefits; this survey should help fill that gap.

HRS's goal for the survey is two-fold: to discover how much employees know about their benefits (what retirement investment options are available, for example), and to understand which benefits are most important to employees.

"Then, we can work closely with administrators and let them know what's most important to employees so that we can allocate funds to those resources," said Mike Otis, associate director of HRS.

Types of questions

Some of the topics included in the anonymous survey include:

  • Knowledge of benefit terms
  • Knowledge of ISU's benefits
  • Importance of ISU's retirement and health care benefits
  • Benefit preferences (by ranking)
  • Options to control benefit costs

Employees also will have a chance to provide written comments. The survey should take about 15 minutes and employees will have two weeks to submit it.

Survey results

Preliminary data from the survey will be available in early March. HRS will work with RISE to compile more detailed results throughout the spring, with final results by May.

"We will use the feedback to guide discussions for 2012 benefits," Otis said.