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How the new normal is impacting employee benefits planning and provision

By June 24, 2020No Comments

Employee benefits professionals are re-evaluating the efficacy of their programmes in supporting  team members through the ongoing uncertainty ahead as they plan for the post-pandemic future.

But as businesses plot their path to recovery, what does this new reality look like?

And as everyone adapts to the unprecedented changes, where should investment in benefits and perks be made to realise the best value for both employer and employee?  Let’s take a look at 4 key areas where change is afoot.

#1 Investing in financial well-being

The economic outlook is uncertain and in times of such heightened financial insecurity, employees are looking to their employers to help them cope with immediate money pressures and better plan their long-term financial futures.  Recent research by MetLife discovered that 74% of employees in the US are concerned by at least one aspect of their well-being (financial, physical, mental, social) as a result of the pandemic. It’s a similar story on these shores too. As employees seek help beyond traditional financial protection schemes, high-impact, low-cost discount, saving and affinity schemes could make all the difference when budgets are tight.

Pre-crisis research by PwC found that 46% of Millennials and 44% of Generation X were more likely to say their loyalty to a company is influenced by how much a company cares about their financial well-being.  So these types of employee benefits could also be an important part of retention strategies for those workers who increasingly place a high premium on how much their employer is investing in their financial wellness.

#2 Supporting emotional and mental well-being

Almost two-thirds of businesses have taken proactive steps on this. A recent survey by Gartner found that 68% of employers had introduced or added at least one new benefit to better support employees’ emotional and mental health during the Coronavirus crisis. Every organisation that offered a well-being initiative also had an employee assistance programme and 48% of these firms offered counselling services.  Meanwhile, 21% provided mental health assessments, which in turn increased employee engagement by 3.1%.  However, investment in support groups, which is one of the most effective benefits in boosting employee engagement at 5.5% was still very low. 

#3 Meeting employee expectations on work / life balance

More than a third of UK workers who have been working from home say they now have a better work / balance, according to VoucherCodes.  Time away from the daily commute and office life has given workers space to re-evaluate their work / life balance and figure out what the new normal means to them too, Requests for remote working and flexible work hours such as a shorter week or non-traditional hours are likely to increase.  As Norman Pickavance, chief executive of financial inclusion charity Tomorrow’s Company told Personnel Today:  “I think the well-being economy will be one of the slow builds out of this … We’ll see people moving out of London, not going into offices, changing their lifestyle.” Could the new normal spell the end for presenteeism too?

#4 Re-evaluating reward and recognition

In your post-pandemic world, what types of behaviours and achievements should your business reward to show staff that you care about the contribution they make? Should your company look beyond some of the traditional metrics like target setting to reward staff? These are two questions that employee benefits professionals and management teams are wrangling with to make sure that staff are being rewarded in relevant terms for the times we are living through.

The impact on your employee benefits plan

Is your businesses re-evaluating the employee benefits that you offer as you adapt to the new normal?  We’re here you need our help