Traditional “work benefits'' include incentives such as pension contributions, childcare vouchers, maybe even a company car or gym membership and private health insurance for those higher up the corporate ladder. Usually determined by seniority, these “add-ons” were rarely deal-breakers in negotiations, but usually woven together as part of the total ‘benefits package’ where salary was the star of the show.
Benefits today, however, should be seen quite differently. Employer/ employee relationships have changed over recent years, accelerated by the pandemic, and against a backdrop of talent shortages across the UK, people’s expectations of both work and employee benefits have also changed.Workers are now seeking a positive workplace culture and a more diverse workplace. Flexibility too is key, with 93% of workers stating that flexibility is important to their working lives. Almost two thirds of workers today want a good work/life balance, according to LinkedIn’s recent Global Talent Trends 2022, ahead of both compensation and benefits. And employers are starting to take this seriously - the dating app Bumble made headlines around the world in 2021 for giving employees a paid week off to help them recover and avoid pandemic burnout.
So, what does this mean for employers?
Employers are already paying more attention to workers’ wants, and employee benefits often now include employee assistance programmes, mental health support, gym membership, onsite exercise classes and time off for volunteering. However, to really differentiate in a market where talent shortages are a reality across many sectors, employers need to think more strategically about what they can offer to boost attraction and retention.
The most enlightened employers have accepted the challenge and are taking a different approach, introducing bespoke programmes rather than out dated, one-size-fits-all packages. There’s clear evidence that employees today expect more from employers and want more choice; from where they work, to why and how work fits into their lives. Curating benefits that are tailored to individual needs, based on background and stage of life, offer a more attractive package to prospective candidates than standard benefits deemed to suit both the experienced worker and the novice. Flexible benefits schemes give employees an element of choice, but this needs to go further, giving individuals the choice of how to use and maximise the benefits they have personally selected from a broad range of simple, easy to access options designed to fit their lifestyle. By supporting people in this way, employers can enhance the overall employee experience and foster greater loyalty amongst staff. Knowing they have the trust and confidence of their manager when asking to leave early to fit around childcare schedules, or to work from home to better accommodate healthcare appointments, takes some of the stress out of people’s working lives. This approach complements a culture of well-being, where benefit redesign, alongside more employee-centred policies, is a significant part of the well-being jigsaw.
At Lime, we believe that employers can play a significant role in supporting the health and wellbeing of their whole workforce. The opportunity exists to play a leading role in the changing nature of employee benefits by seeking out health and wellbeing services for people that offer the greatest impact, gaining competitive advantage by supercharging what’s on offer and how it’s accessed by workers today, in order to attract and sustain the best talent of tomorrow.