Is it time for an employee benefits re-set?

27/10/2020

Barry Byrne - Director, HR Recruitment

Image of fast moving cityscape at night

According to a recent survey conducted by MetLife, employees from a diverse range of business sectors are rapidly placing heightened importance on their employee benefits portfolio. Just over two-thirds of those surveyed (67%) cited a pandemic-related reason for the fresh focus on their total reward package.

Whilst the UK Government and the NHS prepare to mitigate a national mental health crisis, employers, from the FTSE 100 to rapidly growing start-ups, are working hard to develop a resilient benefits offering to employees that is both fit and relevant for the future.  

New environmental changes to the workplace and employees’ lives require employers to engage, understand and empathise with the abrupt shift in direction. Many high-profile employers, including Microsoft, have indicated it is time to re-set, adapt and invigorate the employee benefits offering. Significant focus is also being placed on wellbeing and how interventions can be deployed quickly with the right technology.

There is an opportunity for Reward teams and employee benefit providers to truly collaborate and help employees navigate the new normal. Identifying and adapting to the new demands placed on employees will undoubtedly play a critical role in the future health, engagement and retention of the workforce.

In the recent MMB (Mercer Marsh Benefits) Health Trends Survey, the fragility of current employee benefits systems was highlighted, many of which are paper-based and cannot be accessed or managed remotely.  The survey also found remaining gaps in mental health support, despite the increase in demand seen during the pandemic. For example, virtual mental health counselling is still not widespread, with only one-third of insurers offering it globally while 32% of insurers do not provide plans covering any mental health services.

Organisational wellbeing is deservedly reaching board agendas and the correlations between a well thought through employee benefits offering and stronger business performance, are similar to those achieved having a robust diversity and inclusion programme.  Healthier employees who feel supported and have access to a range of innovative digital health services are far better equipped to perform and contribute to organisational goals.

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