As we enter the second half of 2021 and with a high percentage of people in many of the world’s most developed countries now fully vaccinated, things are beginning to stabilize as a new way forward is taking shape.
To say that work has changed from just two years ago would be a severe understatement; today, companies are preparing for the future of work, including new hybrid ways of working. As such, companies everywhere are revising their policies, strategies, and employee benefits programs. And for good reason - just 18% of UK employees, 17% in France, and 15% in Germany strongly agree that their benefits reflect the current situation.
So, what global trends will we see? We recently released The Future of Work Report, which examines the results from our study of more than 39,000 employees throughout Europe. Among the many areas we explored, we asked participants what would make them more satisfied with their benefits. Based on their responses, we predict three global trends around employee benefits:
- Employers will need to offer a larger selection of benefits and discounts
- We will see more demand for individually tailored benefits
- Employers need to provide clearer information about benefits
Larger Selection of Benefits and Discounts
The whole idea with employee benefits is that they should not only add value to employees’ salaries but also their lives. Since every individual has their own needs and wants, it’s vital that employers offer a wider selection of benefits and discounts that add value and help simplify everyday life.
However, implementing an effective and flexible global benefits strategy that addresses every individual’s needs is a challenge. In fact, Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends study reveals that only 8% of organizations say their rewards programs are "very effective" at creating a personalized, flexible solution.
As we share in an earlier post, for any global total rewards strategy to be truly effective, consistency and flexibility are essential. Additionally, an effective global benefits strategy must address the uniqueness and diversity of each country. Let's say that one of your company's core values is sustainability, offering a wide range of sustainable mobility benefits in every country with local variations would be a very practical and workable solution. For example, you may offer employees, regardless of country, the ability to choose from carsharing, a bike subsidy, electric car rentals, or a subsidized annual travel card. This way, your benefits work on a global level while reflecting your company values and addressing the needs of each individual.
What’s more, offering a wider selection of benefits will naturally increase enrolments and participation since the benefits are of value and use to employees.
Individually Tailored Benefits
With a greater selection of benefits to choose from comes the ability to customize and personalize one’s benefits package.
Today, a "one size fits all" approach no longer cuts it. Luckily for employers, one of the easiest and most effective ways to enable employees to tailor their benefits is through a flexible benefits scheme. Created by employers, a flexible benefits scheme allows employees to select from a variety of pre-tax benefits to create a customized benefits package that matches their needs.
When employers are assembling their benefits offering, it's important they consider not only geographical and generational differences but also the different ways of working today that have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. The future of work will see more and more hybrid working models where many employees will work from the office two or three days a week and the rest from home. Therefore, a company’s benefits offer should address the changes in our work lives and enable employees to tailor their benefits to their own unique work situations.
Today, the workplace is more remote, mobile, and digitalized. Yet despite all the advancements in technology, time is lost every day searching for information. In fact, a McKinsey study reveals that on average, employees spend 1.8 hours every day looking for files, documents, or information. In our own study, only 29% of German employees, 28% of UK employees, and 24% of French employees strongly agree they can easily find information about their benefits.
Gone are the days when access to information is restricted to office hours and work computers; today, employees expect access 24/7 and on any device. For example, through their benefits platform, employees today can find all the information about their employment, including benefits, pensions, and insurances, all in one place. Better still, if your employee benefits platform also has an app, employees can access information whenever and wherever it's convenient for them.
For employers, it's crucial that information, including enrollment processes, eligibility, and important enrollment dates, is uncomplicated. Ulf Holmgren, Regional Benefits Lead at AstraZeneca, explains, "We found that our employees didn't want to know about the ins and outs of our pension policy – they just wanted to know what was best for them." Today, Astra Zeneca employees can find clear, easy-to-read information about their benefits and pensions inside their employee benefits platform.
Of course, for information to be found easily, searchability is essential. With this in mind, Benify designed its global benefits and total rewards platform with one simple but extremely important detail – a search box. Users can log in to their benefits platform and enter any search term into the search box at the top of the screen. For example, users can enter the name of a benefits category, such as health or well-being, or the name of a specific benefits supplier. The platform produces best-matched results in just seconds, enabling users to find clear information about their benefits quickly and easily. For more information, don’t miss our post, How to Make Information Easy for Employees to Find.
Want to read more trends and findings from our study of more than 39,000 employees? Download The Future of Work Report: Employee Benefits and Work Trends in Europe.