Employees seek greater flexibility but still value a good benefits package

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New research released in the fourth annual Capita Employee Benefits Insight Report suggest a reverse in the trend of benefits becoming less important to employees.

This year almost three quarters (69%) of employees say they are more likely to stay with an employer that offers a good employee package, compared with 66% in 2015. In addition, 68% say they are more likely to take a job if their future employer offers a good employee benefits package, compared with 65% in 2015. The results suggest benefits have reversed a trend that showed that they were of declining importance and are still a crucial recruitment and retention tool.

Drawing on interviews with more than 3000 people in employment, the Employee Insight Report assesses the financial wellbeing of the nation, and looks at employees’ attitudes towards pensions, retirement, auto-enrolment, benefits, savings and health in the workplace.

The report finds that employees expect more from their employer in terms of the appropriateness of packages and how they are communicated. 65% of employees say they expect their employer to provide guidance on what offer and how appropriate each benefit might be to them and their family.

In terms of how benefits are communicated, younger employees are the worst served group. Just 13% of 25-34 year olds say their employer communicates with them in a way they want, but a staggering 47% say their employer uses communication channels they are not interested in.

In addition, it follows that if flexible benefits were to be available all year round, employees would be more likely to use them based on when they become relevant or useful to their lives. 62% of employees who have flexibility in being able to choose packages say they are in a good scheme, with just 9% saying they are in a poor scheme.

Alex Tullett, Head of Benefits Strategy at Capita Employee Benefits said: “The past few years had shown a steady decline in the number of people who say they would take a job based on a good package, down from a high of 72% in 2013. This year, that trend has been reversed, as has the declining number of people who would stay in a job based on the benefits on offer.

“But the days of offering benefits because of tradition (industry or otherwise) or offering them because ‘that’s what’s always been done’ are ending. Employers want to see a business case for each benefit offered and for the overall benefit strategy; they want proof they are getting their money’s worth and that employees are responding to their benefits with the commensurate engagement and loyalty.

“People are much more likely to buy a benefit as and when it becomes relevant to their lives – why shouldn’t they expect to be able to buy travel insurance after they’ve booked their flights? It’s clear that guidance on how appropriate each benefit would be for individual staff would be greatly appreciated.”

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson