Seven out of 10 employees state their their company has a ‘social responsibility’ to look after their welfare and wellbeing in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
This latest survey by MetLife UK, highlights the changing nature of the relationship between employers and employees during a global pandemic, and reveals that expectations are often not being met.
The survey also found six out of 10 employees surveyed (61 per cent) said they expected their employer to make allowances for their personal circumstances amid the pandemic. For employees with children that could range from more flexibility around childcare commitments, to family-related health benefits for children and dependents.
However one in four employees (25 per cent) and 27 per cent of employers admitted their the employer’s response to Covid-19 has not always been adequate and had “somewhat or significantly weakened the trust between employers and employees”.
While seven out of 10 employers feel employers have a social responsibility to look after their wellbeing, there is significant variation in how strongly this is felt by companies of different sizes.
While 66 per cent of SMEs feel this is true, the figure rises to 70 per cent for mid-sized and 80 per cent for enterprise companies.
MetLife UK employee benefits director Adrian Matthews says: “The shift to working from home has naturally allowed colleagues and employers to have a greater insight into personal lives and home working set ups.
“Employers have learnt a great deal about their staff and what is important to them as they seek to find ways to accommodate their needs. For example, those needing to shield, or those with caring responsibilities for parents or loved ones. It has undoubtedly shifted the traditional employer/employee dynamic.
“This changing relationship between employers and employees is also being carried into what employees are expecting from their benefits packages. Our research found that 72 per cent of UK employers now feel that the relationship has changed, as do 62 per cent of employees, with employers and employees needing to now reset their relationships.”
He adds: “In addition, employees have become acutely aware of their own health and that of their family and those around them. The benefits and support that employers offer post-Covid are going to become much more central to employees lives with benefits such as income protection, critical illness and health screening expected to rise to the fore.
“Employers will need to play a greater role in supporting employees through offering benefits packages that aide employee’s health and wellbeing while at work and at home.
“As well as offering quality benefits packages, employer’s must also make employees aware of the services already on offer and ensure strong take up for each of the offerings.
“If interest remains low, employers should speak openly to their staff about why this may be, and if there is an equivalent service that could be offered instead. This is not a one-time conversation. Employers and employees must establish an open forum in the post-Covid environment to ensure that everyone is being properly and equally supported.”