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Rethinking Employee Benefits: A New Approach for Workplace Wellbeing

Nora Blackie
6 Dec 2023

Employee benefits have been a cornerstone of workplace satisfaction and productivity. However, with a move towards more flexible working, benefits have been evolving and a closer look may reveal there is room for improvement. The current state of employee benefits often leaves some workers more satisfied than others, which may prompt organisations to reconsider their offerings and discuss the need for a more balanced and tailored approach to benefits.

In many companies, the traditional benefits package may not fully address the diverse needs of the workforce. Gym memberships, for example, might not be seen as a benefit for all employees and in turn, will remain unused and forgotten by part of the workforce. According to a MetLife UK report based on a survey of 1,200 employees and employers, 50% of workers would be willing to accept a reduction in pay for more tailored perks. Furthermore, 74% of employees expressed a willingness to work harder for employers that provide benefits that support individual needs.

Since COVID, mental well-being has emerged as a crucial factor influencing employee satisfaction and retention. About 39% of workers reported that an employer demonstrating more care for their mental well-being would encourage them to stay in their current role. Additionally, 73% of employees stated that they would work harder for an employer that prioritizes their overall well-being.

This research also showed a significant portion of employees (62%) taking a bigger interest in their benefit packages, and 48% are actively engaging in discussions with their employers. This has seen a positive shift among employers, with 63% experiencing an increase in employee queries about benefits since the start of the pandemic, leading to 67% of employers in the study sharing that they are reviewing their benefits package.

A major motivator that emerged is financial protection; 65% of employees said that they would rather have financial protection than “soft” benefits like gym memberships. There is no “one size fits all” approach to employee benefits, according to Charles Cotton, senior policy adviser on performance and reward at the CIPD. He recommended that companies wishing to redesign their offerings should conduct a thorough analysis and ask employees for input regarding their top concerns.

Adrian Matthews, EB director at MetLife UK, highlighted that employees now value a holistic approach to benefits packages, marking a shift in the way people perceive their work environment. As the workplace continues to undergo significant changes and the landscape becomes more distinct than ever, the most forward-thinking employers are those who consider all aspects of their employees’ needs when designing benefits packages.

Here are some potential benefits that could contribute to a more balanced and employee-centric approach:

  • Flexible Work: Recognizing that many employees require flexibility in their working day, offering flexible work arrangements can be one of the most valuable benefits for today’s workforce.
  • Virtual Services: In the age of remote work, virtual services such as GP appointments, mental health support, and fitness classes accessible at any time can provide flexibility and convenience to employees.
  • Career Progression Opportunities: Beyond traditional benefits, introducing avenues for career growth, such as mentoring programs, educational assistance, and training opportunities, can significantly contribute to both employee retention and job satisfaction.

The future of employee benefits lies in understanding and addressing the unique needs of each individual within the workforce. Organisations can attract top talent and create a work environment where employees feel valued and supported in their personal and professional progress by providing a more customised and well-balanced benefits package. People are more in tune with their needs than ever before so it’s vital to listen to employees in order to gain a full understanding of the benefits they are looking for and save opportunities from going to waste. The finest employers in the evolving workplace will be those who put their workers’ general well-being first and understand that it takes more than just money to make the world go round.

06-12-2023Nora Blackie

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