Open enrollment is just around the corner, so a number of HR analysts and consulting firms have unveiled their take on 2012's employee benefit programs. Although employers will continue shifting costs to counter a projected 8.5 percent rise in healthcare costs, they should do so judiciously and take steps to mitigate workplace stress they want to avoid an onslaught of claims and defections by top performers. And while employees struggle to make ends meet after several years of skimpy raises and shifting benefit costs, insurance carriers are reporting an increase in employee claims for illnesses related to post-recession stress. Meanwhile, surveys show that 1 in 3 employees hope to switch jobs next year. In fact, SHRM is urging employers to adopt flexible workplace practices and offer more paid leave to increase employee commitment and engagement, raise productivity, reduce turnover and stress, and boost profitability. Then there’s this from Metife’s annual study of employee benefit trends: Reprioritize employee loyalty and satisfaction, or economic recovery may arrive with unanticipated setbacks for retention and productivity. It’s clear that employers need to go back to the drawing board to make sure benefit programs and expenditures match employee needs and priorities. Loyalty is not recession proof, and employers are largely unaware of the troublesome gap between their views and those of employees in terms of their relationship.