The past three years have accelerated changes in the workplace at a breakneck speed, which has led to a total reshuffling of workplace expectations. The remote visa boom and at-home offices have undone decades of investment in location-specific benefits like gyms and childcare. Employee priorities are shifting, and HR professionals across the UK and Europe need to know how individual countries view benefits in order to keep up.
In our latest report, we spoke to 8,000 employees across eight countries to chart how expectations are shifting, what employees are prioritizing within their countries, and what different regions are starting to expect to see in a benefits package. Our report surveyed employees in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to uncover existing levels of engagement, and whether the availability of remote work has now become a standard expectation.
Spain prioritizes family benefits, while the United Kingdom places a strong emphasis on healthcare.
Different countries prioritize personal and family needs versus pension and retirement planning. The survey revealed distinct country clusters. Poland, Italy, and Spain collectively ranked family support higher, choosing to prioritize childcare and menopause support. Denmark and the UK ranked health care and retirement as top benefits. Germany and the Netherlands preferred social benefits, such as mobility and sustainability.
Clearly, there is no universal solution that can cater to the diverse needs of employees across multiple markets. Understanding the various priorities is crucial for employers who want to adopt an adaptable strategy and effectively address the different requirements of their workforce.
Nordic employees have the strongest sense of belonging and influence
The concept of sustainability has become a key pillar for employees when it comes to their engagement with their current or prospective employers. Our look at sustainability revealed that, for many employees, a “sustainable company” encompasses far more than preservation of the climate. A sustainable company treats employees with the same long-term care that is necessary for the earth, and cultivates a workforce that can thrive.
The report focuses on three areas of employee sustainability: belonging, balance, and the ability to affect change. Belonging is about whether they feel like they belong at a company. balance is how they consider their work-life balance, and affecting change refers to whether or not employees feel they can influence their work situation. The strongest sense of belonging is felt in Denmark and the Netherlands, with Spain and Italy on the opposite end. Employees in Denmark and the Netherlands also have the strongest feeling that they hold influence in their place of work, whereas British employees consider their influence to be low.
Digging into the data: Priorities and preferences differ across countries
What is each country’s priority? Let’s zoom in. Pension is number one on the list for the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK, and Italy. Leave and flexible working hours are tops for Spain, Germany, and Poland. France alone ranks healthcare as the most important benefit overall.
Satisfaction stretched across the board. The Netherlands lead the pack with 68% employee satisfaction when it comes to the total range of benefits offered by an employer. They’re followed by Germany (58%), Spain (57%), Poland (53%). The bottom four countries showed less than half of respondents indicating satisfaction: Italy and Denmark were close (49%), with the UK not far behind (46%), but France rounds out the list with only 38% of respondents saying they are satisfied with the benefits currently offered by their employer.
We asked employees what would make the biggest impact to improve their overall benefits satisfaction. The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and France ranked benefits that are more individually tailored as the area with the highest possible impact. Germany, Poland, the UK, and Denmark indicated that a larger selection of benefits and discounts will go the furthest towards growing satisfaction.
Are you committed to making employees needs a priority in all markets? Then download our latest report The Benefits Factor 2023, below to get access to the full results of our survey results. The report is designed to inspire you and lead to new ideas on how to transform your existing rewards and benefits strategy.