Employee Benefits

Employee benefits trends, in times of change

Companies are taking action to streamline legacy benefit structures. Employee communication is key and online platforms can help you achieve your goals.

Gursharn Benning
Employee Benefits Consultant
Sean McSweeney
Employee Benefits Team Director
11 January 2024
3 minutes read

Mattioli Woods ran a session at The cHeRries HR Conference in Aberdeen earlier this year, which explored the opportunity to streamline employee benefits in times of change. The results of the various discussions and emerging trends in employee benefits are summarised below.

Many companies have reported the struggle to attract and retain the right staff. In many organisations, the expectations of employees have also changed. Employees are increasingly looking for flexibility and choice – the flexibility to work from home and to pick and choose the benefits that best suit their lifestyles. The one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits no longer applies and employers must innovate and embrace technology or risk being left behind:

  • • 100% of attendees at The cHeRries Conference thought offering choice and flexibility to employees is important when undertaking an exercise to streamline benefits

Among all this change, acquisitions are common and can lead to different schemes and categories of entitlement across various benefits:

  • • 94% of attendees said they worked in an organisation that had various structures of employee benefits for different people

Such complexity can be cumbersome, inefficient and create resentment among those employees who are ‘missing out’. Most companies recognise the importance to act when such inconsistencies occur, and most are taking the opportunity to harmonise their employee benefits. Taking action is almost always better than taking no action.

Most companies are taking the action to streamline what is in place:

  • • 62% of those that had different structures took action to streamline what was in place
  • of those who undertook such an exercise, 76% acted to ‘harmonise’ their employee benefits

To ‘harmonise’ means to give all employees the same benefit, or work towards that.

Communication is ultimately the key when looking at streamlining employee benefits. Employers should ensure they bring their employees on this journey with them.

Employers are increasing utilising technology to move their employee benefits online. Indeed, most of the attendees had already done so. Of those that had not:

  • • 73% of these attendees were thinking about moving their employee benefits programme online

Moving benefits online can give employees greater flexibility to pick and choose the benefits they want. Technology can also make the management of benefit administration more streamlined and reduces the number of queries directed at the HR team regarding benefits. Offering voluntary benefits can save the employer on National Insurance too. These platforms often pay for themselves. Let’s be honest, when each of us as individuals are looking for information, we first look at our smart phones, why should benefits be any different?

This approach is no longer just reserved for larger employers with smaller businesses seeing the value of being able to house all their benefits information in one place, thus making it easier for employees to understand their benefits and boost engagement. At Mattioli Woods, we now have online solutions that are cost effective for even the smallest clients.

Given the responses of the attendees at the conference, we expect the trend of moving benefits online to continue.

Content correct at the time of writing (January 2024).

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