But most need more direction to maximize their options

Seventy-four percent of middle-income employees derive the majority of their financial security from the benefits they receive at the workplace, according to the 2014 Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM. Despite the importance of benefits, only one in four employees finds their company's communications helpful in choosing what's right for them.

A new infographic developed by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America highlights the disconnect between employees' reliance on workplace benefits and the effectiveness of employers' benefit communications.

"As Americans get ready to sign up for their workplace benefit coverage this open enrollment season, it's important to recognize how benefits contribute to the overall financial well-being of most workers. At the same time, the benefits landscape is changing with employers shifting more costs to employees, so employees must fully understand their choices and needs--especially when voluntary or less traditional benefits are offered, such as critical illness or accident insurance," says Phyllis Falotico, Head of Group Marketing at Guardian. "Workplace benefits are essential to most Americans' financial security, and employers have a responsibility to improve their employee communications and participation programs to ensure their workforce is adequately covered."

Guardian's infographic reveals that four out of five employees say that benefits are the deciding factor in taking a new job or staying with their current company. Few employees purchase benefits, such as disability insurance, life insurance, or retirement accounts, outside of the workplace benefits package. Employees' reliance on workplace benefits underscores how valued these options are for creating the foundation for a robust financial plan.

To view the complete Guardian Workplace Benefits Study and to learn more tips on running a successful workplace benefits enrollment program, including educational employee videos, click here.