Businesses around the world are making an expensive mistake. Gone are the days when salary alone attracted and retained talent. Employees increasingly want the overall experience to be supportive and, most importantly, flexible.

Employee Benefits Solutions are a chance for businesses to attract and retain top talent with compelling rewards. Yet businesses are failing to get the most value out of their pay and reward strategies. A recent Global Benefits Attitude Survey found that only 43% of workers across the EMEA region appreciate their benefits package. Employers are failing to deliver solutions that meet actual needs and goals. Missing the point leads to losing the value.

The challenge with employee benefits is finding a solution that suits every individual. It is especially difficult for global businesses with a diverse workforce. Employers need to listen to their workers and create packages based on overall employee experience.

What do employees want?

Placing too much emphasis on salary is a mistake. In the same survey, it came to light that two-thirds of employees would sacrifice salary for more pension benefits. Here, the significance lies in the willingness of employees to forego higher salaries.

Where pay is not as important, employers should go beyond monetary value to deliver security and stability. However, stability has different meanings for people around the world. For some, it is significant retirement savings for the future, for others it is high-quality health insurance that meets day-to-day needs.

Indeed, the survey highlighted a 39% increase in employees calling for improved health insurance as part of their pay packages. Employers need to open the conversation with employees to understand what is most important to each individual.

However, there is a type of benefit that employees might not mention, even though they can have huge advantages. We are talking about wellbeing programmes, which are said to increase engagement, decrease the number of sick absences and create a more inclusive culture. Although not every employee will take part, the fact that support is available can be a significant advantage to those who do value it.

The most value comes from choice

There is no single Employee Benefit Solution that suits every employee. People have their own goals and aspirations, which is why freedom of choice is arguably the most important aspect of employee experience.

The evidence behind the importance of personal preference is compelling. In the Global Benefits Attitude Survey, 72% of employees with the ability to tailor their benefits said their package met their needs. That is compared with 23% who had no choice over the benefits provided.

Understandably, employees want to be in control of their benefits. It goes beyond flexibility – they want the freedom to plan their own futures.

Employers have an opportunity to lift engagement by offering a pre-vetted selection of options that align with both the company’s and employees’ values.

Unlocking potential with technology

Employees who want to shape their own benefits need the tools to do so. Only with free and independent access to their provisions can employees take the time to manage them effectively and in a way that suits them.

Benefits packages are personal. Employees want and need to be able to organise their insurance and retirement savings at home, not in the eyeline of their peers. Likewise, businesses would prefer their employees to manage their pay packages in private or in the boardroom.

For mobile employees and those living in different locations for work, technology is necessary even just to access their benefits.

Cloud-based systems and applications are making it possible for employees to take control of their benefits from anywhere in the world. Businesses that adopt these services are likely to see much stronger engagement. When employees can access their benefits, it is much easier to align them to their goals.

Employee benefits with impact

Employment is a way to meet current needs and plan for future goals, yet employees often lack the power to make crucial decisions about their benefits. Without the opportunity to choose the options that meet their aspirations, employees are unable to properly plan for the future.

It is easy to see why many businesses experience difficulty in getting employees to engage with their benefits.

Businesses have the initial decision over what they offer but employees should be able to make the next choice over what services they use. This flexibility and individualisation delivers real traction and value.  

Global Benefits Attitudes Survey 2018 | Willis Towers Watson
6 ways to support employee health and wellbeing | March 2020 | Sage

What we do

Our Employee Benefit Solutions include freedom of choice by giving people the power to manage each service according to their own goals.