Perks over pay | Half of staff would sacrifice part of their salary for better benefits

Half of staff would sacrifice part of their salary for better benefits

One in two employees would sacrifice more of their basic salary to get a personalised employee benefits package, new research from global life insurance provider MetLife has found.

The research was conducted as part of MetLife’s Re:Me report, which looks at how the pandemic has shifted attitudes in the workplace. Among its findings is the discovery that 69% of employers say they’d work harder for an employer who provided benefits that were tailored to their individual needs.

The Re:Me report is among current research demonstrating that attitudes to work have shifted during the pandemic, and that salary size is no longer the biggest sole motivating factor for employees when it comes to job expectations and satisfaction. MetLife found that the traditional benefits package and desired employee perks have “evolved” since the start of the pandemic.

What’s also shifted is the expectation that the creation of a benefits package is not something dreamt up by bosses, but more of a collaborative process between employer and employee. Almost two in three (62%) employees want to ‘shape their benefit packages with their boss’.

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And they’re not looking for “soft” perks like gym membership or employee discounts (many of which, in any case, became obsolete during lockdown and the peak of the pandemic). Income protection was the 13th most desired benefit prior to the pandemic; MetLife’s research discovered that it now stands at 3rd, with a further 58% of employees stating that they’d like their benefits package to cover all their dependents, including their spouse.

This clearly indicates that employees are looking to the future, not just worrying about the present.

The research also found that employers had noticed the shift in employee attitudes to benefit packages, with 63% saying that they’d seen an increase in employee enquiries about benefits since the start of the pandemic. 61% claimed to have noticed a need for mental wellbeing products.

It’s been well-documented that the pandemic was extremely challenging from a mental health perspective for many people, including those in the workplace, who faced uncertainty, not just about the future of their own jobs, but their future health and wellbeing. Personal wellbeing has risen up the agenda for many employees, who are looking for a good work-life balance. It’s understandable that this has helped drive the shift uncovered by MetLife’s research towards a workplace where employees feel looked after and valued by their employers.

The challenge now is for employers to adapt to this change in attitude, and create the tailored benefits packages that employees desire. Otherwise, they risk losing out in a competitive jobs market where there’s a huge battle to attract and retain talent.

“For years businesses have believed that higher pay and job security was the answer to a multitude of problems for employees and while they both remain vital, priorities have changed. Employees are now looking for a much more holistic approach to their benefits package,” commented Adrian Matthews, EB Director at MetLife UK.

“Ensuring that the benefit packages employers offer suits all members of the team is crucial to protect productivity and encourage loyalty for the long term. Our research found that more than two thirds (69%) of employees ‘will work harder for an employer who provides employee benefits that support my individual needs’. Employers must recognise how the needs of their employees will have changed in the past 12 months and work with them to find practical solutions that can be introduced quickly,” he added.

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