Horizon scanning – the future of employee benefits
The pandemic has changed the world of work beyond recognition.
To those of us paying close attention, much of that change describes the acceleration rather than the emergence of existing trends, but it does all add up to a fundamental shift in the relationships between employees, employers, and the societies in which they exist.
The rise of the gig economy, contingency workers, remote working, and agile talent pools over the last few years have changed our sense of career and workplace. Rigid job descriptions have given way to job crafting as employees take the opportunity to customise their roles and interactions at work. The traditional sense of a physical place of work has been inevitably overtaken by flexible, hybrid ways of working. And yet, as the conceptual cornerstones of work weaken, the importance of employers to our personal lives, and to a wider society, has become stronger than ever.
Very soon, employees will have more control and more choice than ever before, in who they work for and the projects they take on. With this widening choice will come a more discerning and demanding employee; one who is much more explicit in their expectations. The power balance has already shifted in that direction. Experts are growing increasingly concerned about a burgeoning skills shortage and reward and benefits teams will come under increasing pressure to offer deals to rival competitive offers in what is a seller’s market for employees with the right skills.
Covid-19 has led to a renaissance in employee benefits
We saw resurgence in the very idea of employee benefits during the pandemic. Overnight, millions turned to their benefits packages for support and, as a result, the demand for insurance and wellbeing products (those with tangible value, as opposed to gimmicky appeal) skyrocketed. The pandemic reminded us of the finite and fragile nature of life, and demand for life insurance and income protection grew accordingly. More than half of employees now say their benefits package should be designed to help them with their health and wellbeing. In 2021, 68% of employers say they added at least one new benefit to their package in response to the pandemic and many are now looking for ways to enhance their packages to attract and retain more talented people. Employers are conscious of the growing return on investment available; not just in the benefits they offer, but in the user-friendly technology experience that underpins their value. This year four out of five global employers are re-evaluating their approach to benefits - the revival of employee benefits is here to stay.
Whatever the future holds, your people will be at the centre of it
Predictions are notoriously difficult to make, but one thing I’m sure of is this; a new social contract between employee and employer is emerging and giving rise to a renewed demand for an Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) built around sustainability, connectivity, inclusion, enablement, wellbeing, and personalisation. Those organisations that realise this soon will gain the competitive edge.