Now that the most serious business impacts of the pandemic are subsiding, global payroll and HR practitioners are understandably exploring how the world of work has changed and what the future holds.
In particular, they’re finding that employees are demanding more from their employers. As many have come to like the hybrid and flexible working models that the pandemic made mainstream, they have also begun to want jobs that fit better around the rest of their lives. Employers have had to respond, and have found global talent attraction and retention increasingly difficult if they can’t or won’t deliver on employee expectations.
One key area where employers can help employees feel more valued is employee benefits, which refer to the incentives offered by employers over and above their standard pay package. In this blog, we’ll explore how attitudes around benefits offerings have changed over the last couple of years, and the most important benefits that the labor market is prizing most highly heading into 2023.
What’s changed post-pandemic?
The pandemic was challenging for everyone in different ways, but one of the few things everyone has in common, no matter the culture or location, is that it gave us all a chance to reflect on what’s important in life. From a work perspective, many employees started to reconsider what was most important to them and began to demand more from employers in exchange for their valuable time.
There is a worrying gap emerging in what employees expect from their employers from a benefits perspective, and what employers are able or willing to provide. The statistics tell a compelling story:
According to Willis Towers Watson, 60% of global employers are struggling to keep their best employees because they can’t differentiate and customize employee benefits
According to the IBM Institute for Business, 47% of global employees say they receive ‘generic’ benefits that don’t meet their needs or interests
A MetLife study found that 72% of UK employees would feel more loyal to their employer if they had the ability to customize their benefits
Why is an optimized benefits package so important?
Some employers are naturally reluctant to increase their investment into employee benefits, but they’re missing out on the big picture of how it can aid them in the long run.
Employees who get stronger benefits packages feel more appreciated by the companies they work for, which in turn makes them feel more motivated, and therefore more productive. They also feel less stressed and more positive about going to work (whether in the office or at home), helping reduce rates of absenteeism and boost productivity even further.
And on a wider level, employers that gain a good reputation for caring for their employees will find it far easier to keep hold of their top talent and recruit others within a highly competitive job market.
Three vital employee trends to follow now
The good news is that many employers have answered the call from their workforces for improved benefits. A Mercer survey has found that 70% of leaders at large businesses are planning to enhance their employee benefits in 2023.
Of all the various benefits that employers can offer, three stand out as particularly valuable for workers looking into next year:
Financial support: giving employees financial assistance at times when they need it can make a big difference to not only their monetary well-being, but also to their mental health. Flexible pay functions like Earned Wage Access can help employees cover unexpected bills without getting themselves into spirals of debt. Plus, with on-demand pay services like CloudPay NOW supporting global implementation, employers can show their global workforces that they’re equally valued
Family planning help: with employees around the globe increasingly valuing family life post-pandemic, support for starting and raising a family is proving especially sought-after. This goes beyond maternity and paternity leave, into more specialized measures such as cash subsidies, lactation and postpartum support, and help finding childcare.
Well-being initiatives: any measures employers can take to reduce stress levels, fight burnout, and increase employees’ motivation are highly welcomed. Promoting wellness and a better work-life balance can take many forms, ranging from extra days off for birthdays and remote work support, to ensuring employees have strong health benefits and employer-funded lifestyle expenses for each employee.
Every workforce is different, so some of the measures listed above will work better for some businesses than others, and that’s why gaining employee feedback is so important. Running a survey and asking your employees what they want can help you tailor a benefits package that suits them best, whether it’s giving your global workforce flexible pay through Earned Wage Access, supporting well-being initiatives, or a combination of the two.
CloudPay’s Earned Wage Access function is a cost-effective, innovative way to give employees the pay flexibility they crave. Find out more about how it works here.