Research reveals only 24% of employees are happy with their benefits package
Three quarters of employees (76%) think that their employer should do more for its people in relation to employee benefits, according to new research by Benenden which also found that some of the zanier benefits being introduced in recent years such as egg freezing and bringing pets to work are the most unvalued benefits. In addition, paid-for healthcare and pension schemes have been voted the most valued benefits by employees.
The research was conducted to discover how highly various benefits are viewed by employees. When asked to choose the top benefit that meant the most to them at work, a paid-for healthcare benefit ranked number one, with a fifth (21%) choosing this as their top benefit. This was closely followed by a company pension (19%) and a monetary bonus (10%).
The study of more than 2,000 people in either full or part time work, found that not only do employees most want healthcare as part of their benefits package, 43% think that it is their employers responsibility to provide a healthcare offering. The reality is that 76% do not currently have this benefit, but of those who do have a healthcare offering, 78% value this benefit highly.
“There’s clearly a disconnect between the benefits being provided to employees and the benefits they want and value,” says Helen Smith, Business Development Director at Benenden. “With almost a third (28%) of those surveyed stating that a strong benefits package increases their loyalty to a company, 23% stating that it boosts their morale and a further 23% stating that it makes them feel like their employer cares - it’s important that employers understand what motivates their people and implement benefit packages that make a difference.
“However, the figures also suggest that there is not a universal approach, with different age groups preferring different benefits. Allowing individuals to tailor their packages will ensure that people can choose what they will really value. This approach maximises the value of what employers are spending on benefits, leads to greater employee retention and is a solid foundation for growing a business.”
The survey showed that whilst 8% of 18-24 year olds value a gym membership as part of their benefits package, only 1% of employees 55+ value this. Similarly, an open vacation policy is preferred among 18-24 year olds (5%) compared to the over 55’s (1%). When looking at the middle group, flexi time was also rated highly, with 9% in both the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups rating this as a preferred benefit, compared to only 4% in the 18-24 year old group and 5% in the over 55 age group, Probably reflecting the increasing caring responsibilities this “sandwich generation” have for both children and aging relatives.
Although healthcare was the number one benefit for those aged 18-44, those above this age, ranked a company pension as the most important workplace benefit. The survey also discovered that 41% of those surveyed did not have a pension scheme offered by their employer prior to the government introducing mandatory pensions, yet 77% value a pension scheme highly, further highlighting the disconnect between benefit packages offered and employee wishes.
At the other end of the scale, the benefit least effective to employees is being able to bring their pet to work, with 17% stating this as the most poorly valued workplace benefit. Following this, other low-ranking benefits included freezing eggs for fertility purposes (14%) and having a fruit bowl (9%).
Helen added: “It has become increasingly common for employers to offer weird and wonderful sounding benefits, in an attempt to stand out and attract employees in an increasingly competitive market. However, the more traditional benefits such as healthcare packages, pension schemes and bonuses are clearly still the most valued.
“A strong benefits package is valued highly when choosing a company to work for, with over half of all surveyed (56%) agreeing. It makes sense to be thoughtful about what benefits you offer and to what extent you can offer flexibility and choice in order to attract the strongest candidates and ensure a value workforce.”
The top ten list of most valued benefits:
1 Paid for healthcare (21%)
2 Pension (19%)
3 Monetary bonus (10%)
4 Life and critical illness cover (9%)
5 Flexi-time (7%)
6 Working from home (6%)
7 Paid for dental care (5%)
8 Company paid-for holidays (4%)
9 Gym membership (3%)
10 Birthday taken as paid holiday (2%)
Benenden offers Personal Healthcare at only £9.10 per person, per month. All members pay into a mutual fund and can request access to a range of health services when they need to. This low-cost mutual model provides high quality, affordable healthcare - aimed at relieving the distress of long NHS waiting lists and helping members achieve prompt diagnosis and treatment.