The world of work is changing rapidly. There is a sharp divide between the haves vs the have nots when it comes to in-demand skills, such as SEO voodoo, website/app development, data security, compliance, automated systems and much more. Basically all the stuff that powers the new digital economy is a knowledge exchange, whereas old school jobs are still stuck in the dark ages of hourly rates, 25 days holiday, and endless team briefings which never boost productivity.
As the gig economy has expanded some people are freelancing their way to an online fortune, while they travel the world, checking in wherever there’s cheap wifi and doing the jobs that suit them, at a time of the day or night that blends in with their lifestyle. Others are marooned in big companies, where marketing, IT, HR and other managers really have no clue how to offer a carrot to millenials, other than the tedious dress-down Fridays, plus ping-pong in the canteen.
What does it mean and where are we heading? More importantly how can big insurance companies retain the brightest staff in the future?
Multinational businesses that fail to offer more flexible employee benefits (EB) packages will struggle to attract and retain staff in an increasingly competitive market for talent according to a new report from MAXIS Global Benefits Network. The report looks in-depth at the subject of flexible and tailored EB packages and asks the question: in the changing world of employee benefits, does one size still fit all?”
According to the report, the rise of flexible, tailored and personalised EB is due in part to the highly sophisticated options now commonplace at US technology firms, particularly those based in Silicon Valley. More broadly, cultural shifts in the workplace and wider society such as part-time and flexible working patterns, multi-generational workforces, gender and cultural diversity and changing employee expectations are also all resulting in the need for more flexibility in employee benefits strategies.
Previous research commissioned by MAXIS GBN among global EB professionals found a significant contradiction in the EB industry: almost three quarters (72%) said their current employee benefits arrangements are based around a one-size-fits-all strategy, yet more than four in ten (44%) said this model is inappropriate for the changing needs of their staff.
As well as this, more than two fifths (43%) said over the next two years multinationals will see an increase in demand for flexible benefits provision. Almost half of those surveyed said high-quality recruits value schemes designed around individual needs, while a similar number (49%) said their firms were looking to invest in data and digital tools to make the process of providing employee benefits simpler and more efficient.
Mauro Dugulin, CEO of MAXIS GBN, says: “Multinational technology companies are leading the way by offering highly flexible and tailored employee benefits packages for their employees. By offering benefits that cater for the changing medical, financial and lifestyle needs of their employees, these forward-thinking businesses are able to attract and retain a highly-skilled, diverse workforce. This ‘Silicon Valley effect’ is paving the way for multinationals the world over to think differently about the benefits they are offering and consider that they may need to adopt a more flexible approach.
“With multiple generations in the workforce who all have different needs from their benefits packages, employees are interested in choosing benefits that suit their personal lifestyle now rather than wanting a standard package. Flexible benefits that can be personalised are key to the success of attracting and engaging the workforce of now and the future.”
According to the report, data and new technologies will underpin the delivery of a successful global benefits programme. It’s the sheer power of modern technology such as cloud processing and artificial intelligence that is driving trends and progress: near limitless number crunching capabilities are now available, meaning that employers can successfully price risk, work through benefits variables and report on ‘what-if’ scenarios as they have never been able to before.
Mauro Dugulin adds: “One of the fastest-growing areas in employee benefits delivery is the availability of online benefits platforms. These cloud-based platforms bring together all of an employee’s benefits into a single application, which can be accessed from any device anywhere in the world, so they can easily manage their entitlements.
“Employers can access the data created by the platform, enabling them to analyse patterns and insights into the take-up and usage by their teams, which allows them to understand more about which benefits different employees value. Many of these digital platforms have the capability to provide a subscription-based or ‘build your own’ benefits programme, where employees have a set amount of money to use to choose from a range of benefits – making the idea of truly tailored and personalised benefits possible.”
The power of data analytics also means organisations will increasingly be able to better manage costs and understand where their employee benefits budgets are being spent, identifying where they can make reductions without jeopardising the value that the benefits bring to their employees.
Mauro Dugulin concludes: “Employees’ expectations and needs are shifting, and global employers need to move with the times to ensure their EB strategy delivers the most valued benefits to their employees.”