New Best Practices Guide on Employee Benefits: Benchmarking Tool Showcases Employee Benefits Strategies of The Principal 10 Best Companies

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Employers have long known that employee well-being impacts job performance. Now a new benchmarking guide from the Principal Financial Group delivers best practices in employee benefits that help employees get both financially and physically fit resulting in fiscal fitness and a competitive edge for the business. Companies can use the guide to benchmark their current practices and get new ideas.

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The planner gathered data and put together financial plans that employees needed to meet their goals

    The Formula for Success outlines the benefits best practices of The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security--2007. Selected by an independent panel of benefits experts for excellence in helping employees achieve long-term financial security, the winning companies say the key is more personalized help -- such as one-on-one health coaches in wellness programs and workplace financial guidance.

In the best practices guide, which is available at no charge at http://www.principal.com/bestguide, employers and their financial professionals can find:

A benchmarking chart for comparing their employee benefits to those of The Principal 10 Best Companies and national averages

Detailed tactics and real-life examples of their success

Engaging case studies that illustrate the universal challenges faced by employers today -- and the innovative tactics The Principal 10 Best Companies used to overcome them

Easy-to-use, interactive checklists of best practices that can help them fine-tune their employee benefit programs

"The Principal 10 Best Companies help their employees achieve financial fitness by providing the benefits and the education employees need to feel secure about their financial futures. At the same time, a growing emphasis on physical fitness improves employees' quality of life and helps prevent costly illnesses. Wellness screenings at these companies caught high cholesterol, diabetes and prostate cancer -- including that of one winning company's CEO," said Renee Schaaf, vice president, the Principal Financial Group.

It all adds up to happier, healthier and more dedicated employees and ultimately a competitive edge for the company. The leaders of these organizations say their investments in employee benefits help them recruit and retain the best employees, as well as cut training costs, enhance customer service and boost productivity. As Dan Robinson, CEO of Placid Refining Company, LLC, said, "If people feel they have a good benefit package, they'll give 110 percent to the employer. The return is very loyal, hardworking employees."

"The Principal 10 Best best practices guide is a good benchmark for employers to know what the best are providing, what's out there in the marketplace and what kind of benefits those they are trying to hire could find elsewhere," said Dallas Salisbury, president and CEO, Employee Benefit Research Institute and judging panel member of The Principal 10 Best Companies.

Financial fitness for employees

"The Principal 10 Best Companies go the extra mile to help their employees achieve financial fitness by offering automatic savings tools and one-on-one meetings at the worksite," said Schaaf. PMSLIC Insurance Company brought in a financial planner to meet individually with employees and their spouses. "The planner gathered data and put together financial plans that employees needed to meet their goals," said Julie Burns, vice president of human resources at PMSLIC Insurance Company.

Physical fitness for employees

While all of The Principal 10 Best Companies offer some form of wellness program, some companies have been at it longer than others. Badger Mining was a pioneer when it started its worksite wellness program 10 years ago. Listen to an audio interview about Badger's wellness program. Watch a video about Badger Mining Company.

Fiscal fitness for the business

The Principal 10 Best Companies say their investments in employee benefits pay off -- especially when it comes to attracting and retaining top employees. The winners have turnover rates significantly lower than others in their industries, with an average annual voluntary turnover rate of 7.7 percent, compared to the national average of 21.6 percent. Listen to audio interviews with winning companies about how their employee benefits give them a competitive advantage.

About The Principal 10 Best Companies program

The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security is a nationwide program that recognizes small and medium-size companies, between five to 1,000 employees, that excel in providing for employee financial security. To qualify, all entrants must have been based in the United States and have provided a broad range of employee benefits for at least five years. Qualifying companies must have, at a minimum, offered "traditional" employee benefits, such as those relating to retirement, health, life or disability. Nominations and entries for the 2008 program will be accepted beginning February 1, 2008. Learn more about how to nominate a company or enter your company.

About the Principal Financial Group

The Principal Financial Group (R)(The Principal (R)) is a leader in offering businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement and investment services, life and health insurance, and banking through its diverse family of financial services companies. A member of the Fortune 500, the Principal Financial Group has $306 billion in assets under management and serves some 18.3 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit http://www.principal.com.

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Terri Hale
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