The rise in remote working was an important driver of change, with two-thirds (64 per cent) citing it as a key factor.
In its 2021 Benefit Trends survey, broker Willis Towers Watson found that organisations’ weakest areas over the past year were cited evenly between financial wellbeing (42 per cent), social wellbeing (40 per cent) and emotional wellbeing (39 per cent). To change that, 86 per cent are prioritising an improvement in their emotional wellbeing support for staff over the next two years, with two-thirds (67 per cent) planning to enhance their levels of social wellbeing, and a similar proportion (63 per cent) intending to focus on financial wellbeing.
Recognising employee’s needs in a post-Covid world
Lucie McGrath, UK Health and Benefits Director at Willis Towers Watson, said: “We are seeing a wider shift to recognising and meeting individual needs and circumstances, and that trend is being partly driven by the welcome rise of inclusion and diversity (I&D). Three quarters of firms said an increased focus on I&D is creating a need to change their approach to employee benefits, such as healthcare, pensions, and insurance. Technology can be the enabler to a much more personalised and bespoke employee experience that goes beyond traditional core benefits like pension and life assurance.”
However, despite organisations’ commitment to improving their employee wellbeing provision, many could still find it challenging to change course effectively. Only one in seven (15 per cent) of UK organisations use surveys, focus groups and other tools to try to understand their employees’ wants and needs. Three in five (60 per cent) currently have no clear benefits strategy, yet 78 per cent want to create a customised benefits programme over the next two years (currently only 10 per cent have achieved this).
McGrath added: “The pandemic has caused many employers to look at benefits and the role they play with a fresh perspective. Many organisations face a big gap between where they are and where they want to be, and it is essential that they listen closely to their staff to work out the best ways of personalising and strengthening the employee experience.”