The headlines in the employee benefits media are saying that ‘Employers are dramatically ‘out of touch’ with the needs of their employees.’ MetLife’s fourth Employee Benefits Trends Survey, has found that 46% of employers think their company is a ‘great place to work’, yet this view is only shared by 31% of staff.
These trends remain in line with previous years; there is still a significant difference between what employers think and what staff themselves think. As a result employers are risking not achieving the full potential of their employee benefits and their employees.
Having significantly different opinions on the state of employee happiness and job satisfaction leads to a number of business challenges. If you’re not in touch with your employees then your organisation could suffer from:
- High levels of staff attrition
- Increasingly demotivated individuals
It is well known within the HR sector that talent management, recruitment and employee retention are key challenges professionals face. This is also highlighted by MetLife’s survey which shows how highly employers rate recruitment and retention:
- 41% of employers said retaining key talent was a key benefits challenge
- 37% of employers surveyed said hiring talent was a key challenge
- 40% of UK companies say they will be affected by talent shortages over the next year
Employees and prospective employees value a really good benefit package. If you’re not offering benefits that are appropriate to your workforce, you’re not going to achieve the full potential of your employees, the reward scheme or your organisation.
Addressing employees needs
Employers are still over-optimistic about the success of their employee benefits and engagement strategies. This needs to change and employers need to be realistic.
The very heart of this is understanding your employees. Employers need to think about what their staff really need rather than simply about the cost of the scheme.
The first stage is to segment your employees based on age, job role, salary, dependants or other demographics. Different employees want different benefits at different times in their life. For example, if your workforce is made up of mainly young females, there may be a stronger preference for high street retail vouchers rather than pensions or life insurance.
For a benefit scheme that delivers what your employees want then you need to keep in touch. You can do this by:
- Have employee representatives on the committee or board that decides on the benefit offering so that employees’ voices are heard.
- Use employee surveys at regular periods to discover employee opinions on your current offering and potential new benefit ideas.
- Don’t launch an employee benefits scheme and then step back. Implement a regular communications plan that encourages employees to get in touch with new ideas and thoughts.
- Monitor take up of individual benefits and use the information to add to your employee understanding.
- Benchmark your employee benefits against other companies in your industry.
The real measure of the success of an employee benefits package is not how much it costs, but providing benefits that are of interest to your staff.