If there is one thing we all seem to agree on when it comes to benefits provision, it is the critical role it plays in driving employee engagement and business performance. 

That at least is what is shaping benefits strategy for nearly three quarters (71%) of employers in 2019 according to research by Employee Benefits Magazine.

At the same time, however, employers recognise that delivering on that strategic goal is becoming harder as our workforces become more diverse.

Great expectations

According to separate research from Aon, just 50% of employers say their benefits offering meets the needs of all generations in their workforce. Unsurprisingly, nine in ten of employers say they need to change their package going forwards.

As employers contemplate those changes, it’s not just the ever-widening set of expectations of our diverse workforces which are will prove challenging. 

HR teams are also being asked to provide support for financial and physical wellbeing out of a budget pot which isn’t getting any bigger in the vast majority of organisations. 

Choice counts

As it becomes abundantly clear that that a one-size fits all benefits package will no longer cut it for the employer or the employee, it’s surprising that only 42% of organisations offer any sort of choice in the benefits they offer – particularly as I would imagine some of this comes in the form of voluntary benefits.

I expect this figure to change as employers become more familiar with a new generation of flexible benefits platforms.

That’s not just because next-gen flex delivers the choice employees want and takes away the heavy lifting behind scheme administration. They also allow employees to change the benefits they receive in real-time and enhance the employee experience, reflecting the expectations of technology they bring into the workplace.

Flex on the rise

At a time when the many employers admit that they struggle to identify the benefits which are most valued by employees, next gen flex platforms provide the insight organisations need to better manage the costs and take-up of their schemes.

So if you are one of that big cohort of businesses wondering how you can improve your benefits proposition without loading up on costs, it’s time to think about flex as a smart way of improving performance both of your benefits scheme and of the results it delivers for your organisation.

Andy Philpott is sales and marketing director at Edenred UK


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