Skip to main content
Press Release

Remote working, Inclusion & Diversity drive companies to rethink employee benefit strategy, Willis Towers Watson survey finds

December 8, 2021

Adopting an integrated digital strategy to ensure that the benefits approach meets the needs of all workforce segments is the way forward.
Health and Benefits
  • Inclusion and diversity emerges as the top external influence driving benefit strategy in the next two years
  • Integrating wellbeing into the benefit package, increasing flexibility and choice, and enhancing tools and technology are the top strategic objectives
  • 9 in 10 employers plan to personalise the digital experience across benefits in the next two years

NEW DELHI, December 8, 2021 — The war for talent, heightened focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, and rising benefit costs are fuelling a surge in companies in India planning to revamp their employee benefit strategy. Their goals are to differentiate themselves, personalise the employee experience and manage the costs of their benefit programmes. That is according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

The India findings of the 2021 Benefits Trends Survey found that while 68% companies in India offer market competitive benefits, only 43% address the individual needs of their workforce and even fewer (32%) offer significant flexibility and choice. The survey highlights that the top strategic objectives in the next two years are integrating wellbeing into the benefits package (65%), increasing flexibility and choice (51%), enhancing tools and technology to support employees (46%) and focussing on inclusion and diversity in benefits provision (38%).

“The employee benefit strategy in India has traditionally focussed on market competitive and benchmarked benefits which subsequently moved towards differentiation. However, the pandemic has driven employers in India towards an introspective benefit strategy built around individual needs, flexibility and choice and most importantly, employee experience,” said Vinod VK, Head of Health & Benefits, Willis Towers Watson India Insurance Brokers.

Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) is top external influence driving benefit strategy

Confirming the increasing importance of I&D in aspects related to Human Capital strategy, Indian employers have ranked it as the top external influence driving their benefit strategy. Among the top five, remote working, rising costs, tight labour markets and advances in technology make up the other four external influences driving benefit strategy in India. The increased focus on ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) is ranked as number seven.

Changes in employee benefit package expected in the next two years

The survey also reveals that employers are planning to make enhancements in healthcare benefits (58%), flexibility and choice (54%), support for mental health (64%) and support for lifestyle improvement (52%), among others.

Digital strategy for superior employee experience and stronger employer brand

Most employers are at an early stage of digital adoption but nine in ten plan to embed and personalise the digital experience across benefits in the next two years. Furthermore, three in five employers are planning or considering adopting a digital data hub that houses all benefits, while a third are evaluating using predictive analytics to forecast future costs and risks. Similarly, two in five are considering online dashboards for providing senior management with instant access to information on costs, risks, claims and utilisation.

Vinod explains, “The way we work has radically changed and hence, the way we communicate, engage, reward and nurture employees must transform quickly as well. Holistic employee wellbeing will be the catalyst for organisations in making a successful transformation and a reimagined employee benefits programme will be the solution to differentiate and personalise employee experience. Adopting an integrated digital strategy is the only way to ensure that the benefits approach meets the needs of all workforce segments. Delivering a personalised employee experience while optimising costs is the Mantra.”

About the survey

The 2021 Global Benefits Trends Survey are based on responses from a total of 3,642 employers globally, including 137 organisations in India with 879 thousand employees at responding organisations.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

Related content tags, list of links Press Release Health and Benefits India
Contact us