Are employee benefits packages matching expectations?

Is your company doing enough to attract and retain the best talent?

Jon Gilbert

Aug 21st 2018

 Are employee benefits packages matching expectations?

A good benefits package can be an essential way of attracting, and retaining, talent. A good salary is crucial, of course, but the non-financial elements are also a key aspect of an overall job offer. For some, these elements are particular salient and even outrank salary as a key determinant in the decision-making process. Research conducted by NGA highlighted this point, finding that more than a quarter of candidates (26.8%) had turned down a higher paying job offer because the benefits package was inadequate.  

Companies keen on keeping employees happy and motivated will want to pull out all the stops to make sure they are putting a great employment package on the table. But are the benefits they are providing as part of this offer really meeting employee demands? Or is there something missing that could be addressed? Judging by the results of the recent Global Benefits Survey, carried out by Willis Towers Watson, it’s the latter that seems to be the answer for many.

Differing perspectives

The survey found that only one third of employees believe their overall package offers them enough choice and flexibility. This is as opposed to the two thirds (61%) of employers who believe that its workforce is happy with the benefits provided. The report suggests there is a disconnect in views between what an employee wants, and what employers are actually offering.

With this disparity in viewpoints, employers might be worried about the impact that a disappointing package of benefits is having on current staff attitudes and job satisfaction levels. If an employee isn’t receiving satisfactory benefits, they might start to look around elsewhere. Failure to meet these expectations and requirements can be damaging for organisations from a retention perspective.

A personalised package

To determine which benefits are most desirable, employers might need to look closely at their employee’s changing lifestyle. While free healthcare or perks focusing on wellbeing could be appealing to many, for some employees this might not be fulfilling their current needs. For example, if an individual’s family structure has changed since joining the company and they now have a child, they might require benefits which are better suited to this change in circumstances. This might mean providing them with the option to work flexible hours or offering childcare vouchers for additional support.

This adaptability on benefits package would certainly be valued – 58% of employees in a MetLife report said they wanted a customised option which was based on their personal information. If employees knew that they could customise what they received, this would be a big morale booster as they’d feel well engaged and appreciated.  

How should these needs be determined?

If employees aren’t communicating what it is they want from their company from a benefits standpoint, then it will naturally be difficult for an employer to know what they should be offering.  

To address this, employees and employers could sit down on a regular basis to review their benefits package – this could be done annually, if not more regularly. This will help employers to understand what drives their staff and allow for the benefits on offer to be tweaked, should situations have changed since the last review date.  

Overall, the takeaway from recent reports is that there is no one-size-fits-all benefits package. Employees value different perks at different stages of their working lives. If employers can accommodate individual needs and provide a good mix of benefits then they can, however, be content in the knowledge that they are doing all they can to ensure their workforce is happy with their current situation.

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