Engagement and Employee Relations

HRD Briefing 2021: Employee Benefits Priorities

  • January 15, 2021
Neil Hurst | UK Practice Leader, Reward and Talent | Mercer
COST AND SUSTAINABILITY
  • A continued focus on the cost vs perception value of benefits packages, including ongoing cost containment measures
  • Evaluation of the revlenace of certain benefits (e.g. cars, travel allowanes) in the new world of work
  • Awareness of the consistency of the overall cost base linked to profitability

LINK TO VALUES AND ESG GOALS
  • Purpose and sustainability are to feature more priminently as part of a broader Employee Value Proposition
  • DE&I and LGBT+ considerations should be seen as drivers of change. This includes new options under PMI plans and support for parents (not just around the birth or adoption of their child, but thereafter, particularly regarding remote working and the extra conflicts at home).
  • Wellbeing will become increasingly intrinsic to benefits plan design. Paying it lip service is no longer an option, particularly in light of Covid-19.
  • A rethinking of benefits for a remote working population. Organisations shifting the investment in office facilities to support for those working at home e.g. virtual GPs and rethinking office benefits as places for collaboration.

PERSONALISATION/INDIVIDUALISATION
  • Increased flexibilty and personalisation for mulitple generations and value systmes. Whilst this is nothing new, we might possibly see better eldercare cover.
  • Greater emphasis on leave plans, possibilities include unlmited paid time off, sabbaticals or career breaks
  • Study support for employees, to support the future skills and reskilling agenda

PRACTITIONER VIEW
Richard Windmill | Group Reward Director | Nokia

While the Covid-19 pandemic has brought disruption and tragedy to many over the last year, it has also offered us the opportunity to look at things we would not have dared tackle in the past. Ideas that sat in the ‘too difficult’ box don’t seem so challenging after all. The reminder of a need to look out for one another has indeed refreshed the sense of purpose, and for us at Nokia the theoretical concept of 5G became critical in providing the backbone of remote working.

The focus on a common threat has also brought a sharpened focus on responsibility and the role we and other companies play in society. We’ve all recognised that health is paramount and priceless, but the level of disruption and change impacting our societies and our workforce brings with it a real need to recalibrate how to support our colleagues and their families in adapting to the new environment. It’s not entirely altruistic – there is a need to ensure that we meet our customers’ needs and remain productive, but it is done with a genuine sense of higher purpose and a drive for wellbeing.

On a more operational level it also brings a reshaping of the traditional benefits package. For example, travel loans and car benefits (which have largely sat in the drive for nine months) look set to get a shake-up that will potentially continue for two to three years as charges and the need for transport and public transport will undoubtedly change.

This article is part of our 2021 HR Directors’ Briefing Paper. Continue to the next article: Employment Law and Policy.

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