When it comes to workplace benefits, employees want choice and support

09 Mar 2020

Which employee benefits should you offer -- and how much choice should you give? Some employers keep it simple with a limited range of benefits options, while others prefer to offer a wide range of choices to ensure they meet everyone's needs.

While offering more choices helps ensure there is something for everyone, it does place a greater responsibility for benefits decisions on the employee when, for many, benefits are already complex enough.

According to Willis Towers Watson's Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, most employees want "meaningful choice" when it comes to workplace benefits but don't want to be overwhelmed.

The survey of more than 40,000 employees who work at medium and large private sector companies in 27 markets found that a majority would like to have a range of options, with support and guidance from their employer.

So the question is: how can employers help their employees make the right decisions about the range of benefits available?

Employers can guide benefits choices by providing information about the various options and by offering technology and decision support tools that help people make informed decisions.

What's more, the survey found that offering decision support tools has a significant impact on improving employees' financial wellbeing.

In organisations where the employer offers the broadest range of tools and resources, employees are at least three times as likely to say their employer has encouraged them to improve their financial situation and nearly 1.5 times as likely to say they are heading in the right direction with their finances (compared with those without access to tools).

To be truly effective, Willis Towers Watson said that benefits tools must:

- Move away from just focusing on enrolment toward a wider focus on "in the moment" decision making.

- Reflect the range of approaches employees actually take when making choices, rather than an idealised view of what employees should do. For example, many financial tools address budgeting behaviour, but only a small minority of workers follow a strict formal budget -- and often only do so in response to extreme financial circumstances. For the majority, budgeting is more informal, reactive and in the moment, so messages trying to make them "budgeters" may fall on deaf ears.

- Match up to the consumer-grade experience employees see in the tools and apps they use in their everyday lives.

At Fidelius we can create a tailored employee benefit programme for your business and help in communicating these benefits to employees, ensuring that they both appreciate and engage with what is being provided. Contact us today to discuss this in more detail.