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Unum report: Benefits specialists analyse the biggest challenges for future workplace benefits

A new report sets out the future trends and challenges affecting the composition of an effective and desirable benefits package.
  • HR experts and benefits specialists discuss the future of the rapidly changing employee benefits landscape in new report
  • Strategies are put forward to keep employee benefits fit for purpose and continually evolving
  • Unum research examines challenges which may affect the future employee benefits package

A new report from employee benefits provider Unum sets out the future trends and challenges affecting the composition of an effective and desirable benefits package. The ‘Future of Employee Benefits’ report combines the outcome of a roundtable with benefits specialists and interviews with senior HR professionals at a broad range of companies – including Mark Beatson, CIPD Chief Economist and Michelle Bradshaw, Compensations and Benefits Director, UK, Ireland & Israel at Oracle – on the future employee benefits landscape.

The report builds on Unum’s previous ‘Future Workplace’ report, which identified a series of macro trends affecting workplace wellbeing over the next 15 years, which were categorised into four distinct working environments: The Ageless Workplace; The Mindful Workplace; The Intuitive Workplace; and The Collaborative Workplace.

The new report looks at four key influences which will shape the evolution of employee benefits and suggests ideas to help employers to address these in flexible ways which will attract, retain and engage employees in future:

  • Know Your employees: The multi-generational workforce: An increasingly diverse workforce, in terms of age, culture, gender and ability, means that employers need to be treating – and rewarding – each group appropriately, but equally.
  • Technology:. New technology can help employers to communicate better and stay in touch with staff working remotely or globally. Use benefits technology to audit the take-up of benefits, and ensure it can be reached by mobile devices, perhaps examining the possibility of apps to make access easier.
  • Always on Culture: Technology and global communications have created an emphasis on hyper-connectivity which can affect stress levels and the mental health of employees. Employers are increasingly trying to find ways to help employees cope, with strategies such as providing a supportive health and wellbeing offering and safeguarding the health of employees working remotely.
  • Who Owns Employee Benefits?. There are now more influences than ever on the structure of an employee benefits package, with the Board, employee requests and competitor offerings all playing a big role. Communication of benefits and employee education has never been more important, and it can be worth drawing on the expertise of other departments - such as marketing or IT - or employee benefits providers to assist with messaging or different channels of communication..

Supporting research from Unum in the Future Workplace report has demonstrated that not all employers are ready and willing to adapt to these trends, putting them at risk of overlooking the needs of employees and losing out in terms of employee retention and productivity, which could result in the loss of billions of pounds . Just as employers need to get to grips with these challenges so too must benefits providers and reward managers.

Marco Forato, Senior VP, Global Growth Strategy, Unum said: “A lot has changed in UK workplaces over the last 30 years. Industries that the UK was previously famous for have slowed, disappeared, been rebuilt or transformed. New sectors have emerged, without traditional geographic and technological boundaries. Being an employer of choice in this quickly evolving environment is key to providing a clear competitive advantage. Building an employee benefits package that supports employees both now and in the future is one of the most important ways a company can demonstrate it understands this need.”

“A balanced and comprehensive benefits package will be as, if not more, important in the future to fuel loyalty and improve staff retention to help a business thrive. Giving staff a financial back-up plan if they fall ill and can’t work is often overlooked, but Income Protection can complement and support a company’s wellbeing programme allowing businesses to show their employees they care.”

The Future of Employee Benefits Report, provides actionable key takeaways for benefits decision makers to tackle each challenge within their business and best practise case studies. Access the report here http://landing.unum.co.uk/future-employee-benefits

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