More companies are looking to enhance their benefit offering this year, despite cost constraints, according to new research.
Gallagher found eight out of 10 employers who are planning changes to their benefit package, are looking to enhance their benefits package This is an increase on the 70 per cent looking to upgrade services last year.
Of those planning changes only 5.2 per cent are looking to remove benefits, which the consultant says shows the value of a clear benefits strategy, particularly when it comes to recruitment and retention in a difficult employment market.
The research also showed that 23.5 per cent of firms are going to change their benefit delivery method, with the same percentage looking to switch their benefit provider.
The research, part of Gallagher’s fifth benefit strategy and benchmarking survey report, looked at the challenges facing businesses when it comes to delivering a successful benefit strategy. The research found the biggest challenge cited by businesses was to ensure their benefit offering appealed to a diverse workforce that will have very different needs and preferences.
Other major concerns included increasing the cost of benefits within a tight budget, and challenges around communication of benefit packages.
Last year costs and budget were seen as the biggest challenge, so this is the first time the issues around diversity have now superseded this to become the number one concern.
The research revealed that the majority of employers haven’t implemented policies needed to support women in the workplace experiencing the menopause – with only one in five firms with formal policies in place. Where support for women during menopause exists, the type of help being offered ranges from flexible working policies (61.5 per cent), employee forums/support groups (53.8 per cent) and training for managers (42.3 per cent).
Gallagher’s data shows 73 per cent of organisations are looking to improve internal communication – but as many as two thirds (68.6 per cent) do not have a pre-defined benefits communication budget. Among those surveyed who had a communication budget, most allocated less than £10,000 per year. The use of a discount portal is one of the top (33.9 per cent) methods used to communicate, followed by 17 per cent using mental health/wellbeing apps.
Steve Threader, managing director, reward and benefit consulting at Gallagher’s Benefits and HR Consulting Division in the UK says: “The connection between employee wellbeing and organisational wellbeing has become more significant. It’s encouraging to see that the desire to create flexibility is trending across the country, with 47.8 per cent of employers wanting to improve it, in order to extend individual choice and to better support those who need it the most.”