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Press Release

Increased flexibility and choice of benefits is top priority for more than two in five employees

June 16, 2022

Being heard and supported are high on the agenda, underpinning access to flexibility and choice
Health and Benefits

LONDON, June 16th, 2022 – More than two in five employees want their employer to prioritise offering increased flexibility and choice in their benefits package. While feeling that they’re being heard and supported by employers are high on the agenda, underpinning access to flexibility and choice of benefits. That’s according to the WTW 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey (Willis Towers Watson, NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

The survey also found that there is greater appreciation for benefits when greater flexibility and choice is offered. In fact, where a fully flexible benefits fund was implemented, 78% of staff said that their benefits packages met their needs, versus only 25% of employees with no choice in their core benefits.

Typically, employees who have access to fully flexible benefits are more likely to assess their benefits as being of good value, easy to understand and easy to use. Whereas those who aren’t given a choice are more likely to say their benefit package isn’t important to them.

Having a greater choice of benefits has proven to build more trust between employers and employees, as 64% of employees with full flex benefits say that their employer has provided effective support when they’re deciding on benefits and 61% of staff say that the communication they receive from their company is relevant to their personal circumstances. Yet these figures only stand at 25% and 17% for employees with no choice in their benefits.

When employees are given more choice, they build greater trust in their employers.”

Rebekah Haymes | flexible benefits expert, WTW

Rebekah Haymes, flexible benefits expert at WTW says “When employees are given more choice, they build greater trust in their employers. But that trust is only built when employers listen to staff needs and offer them choices as a response. It creates a more open dialogue, where employees feel that they are being looked after and are therefore more willing to hear their employer’s recommendations around somewhat personal topics such as health and wellbeing.”

In fact, 42% of staff have said they trust their employer’s suggested choice of products and providers more than ones they’d be able to find on their own. And 45% of employees think that their employer would be able to get a better deal than they could get on their own. In comparison, only 17% of staff with no choice in their benefits would trust their employers benefit choices and only 25% of employees without flexible benefits would agree that their employer could get them a better deal on products and services.

However, research shows that benefits are more greatly valued by certain age groups and salary brackets, prompting that more could be done to support those who are lower salaries and of poorer health.

In order to make the most of benefits packages, 40% of employees who wanted greater help said that having access to online tools that help them understand different plans and how their pay would be affected would be beneficial. A further 37% of employees said it would be useful to speak to a benefits specialist and 36% of staff said they would like to use tools that compare different plan options and features.

While strong retirement benefits are still of prime importance to employees, topics such as managing emotional and physical health, improving community and social responsibility and improving diversity and inclusion are also of concern, reinforcing the growing trust in employers to deliver solutions for more personal issues.

Almost a third of employees (31%) would like their employers to focus on supporting mental health management, through offering mental health days, stress and resilience management activities and a wider range of mental health professionals. While 30% of staff would like further support around maintaining physical health, through health screenings and risk assessments, and more generous health care and dental plans.

More than one in ten employees (11%) would like further focus on social responsibility, through supporting energy efficiency, partnering with schools and universities to support younger people and by encouraging zero carbon means of travel. While more than one in eight members of staff (13%) would like inclusion and diversity support to be a main area of focus, through offering education on discrimination prevention and inclusion of underrepresented groups.

Rebekah Haymes, flexible benefits expert at WTW says: “Building mutual trust is the first step to having a more open narrative between employees and employers. It paves the path for stronger employee experience, through taking a shared responsibility for wellbeing.”

About the survey

WTW’s 2022 Attraction & Retention research was conducted during December 2021 and January 2022 as part of the wider Global Benefits Attitudes Survey. Respondents include 4,129 U.K. employees from large and midsize private employers, representing a broad range of industries.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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