Only 49% of Employers Are Effective at Offering Tailored Employee Benefits

Oct 28, 2019
| Michael Altiero

Employers in the United States and throughout the world are exploring ways to enhance their employee benefit packages as workforce trends change and costs continue to rise.

Voluntary benefits, flexible schedules, and on-demand healthcare options are just a few of the examples of how companies are expanding their benefits and perks packages.

But a new report from Willis Towers Watson further highlighted the ways employers are expanding their benefit offerings, including the greater emphasis being placed on employee wellbeing, broader benefits, and technology.

2019 Willis Towers Waters Benefits Trends Survey

The 2019 Benefits Trends Survey by Willis Towers Watson was taken by more than 4,300 companies located around the globe, with 400 midsize and large U.S. businesses participating.

The results showed the top benefit strategy challenges that U.S. employers expect to face over the next 3 years:
  • Rising benefit costs – 82%
  • Difficulties with communicating benefits to employees – 53%
  • Differing wants and needs of a multigenerational workforce – 50%
  • Lack of employee engagement with benefit programs – 47%

Rising costs have been a common theme across various surveys and industry findings when it comes to top benefits concerns, as has communicating benefits with employees.

And more companies are encountering challenges with today’s multigenerational workforce, which is more generationally diverse than ever before. Often, a wide-variety of personalized benefits are needed to ensure that all employees can take advantage of what is offered.

Wellbeing Benefits Are Growing in Demand

The next area of the survey highlighted some of the trends in employee benefits amongst employers. Survey takers were asked to list their highest employee benefit priorities. Here are the top responses:

  • Adding wellbeing into their programs – 80%
  • Aligning benefit provisions with employee wants and needs – 64%
  • Enhancing work policies – 61%
  • Incorporating inclusion and diversity into benefit programs – 56%

It was also revealed that 70% of organizations are looking to improve their corporate social responsibility policies and align them with benefit strategies over the next 3 years.

When it comes to flexibility and personalization, employers understand the importance in shifting their priorities. Just 49% said they are effective in offering tailored benefits to their employees to support their needs. However, this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

Employers Want to Place a Higher Priority on the Employee Experience

We have previously highlighted the importance of the employee experience for both employers and workers today. Actively improving the employee experience helps improve both recruiting and retention.

The survey showed that only 28% of employers believe they are effective at using digital tools to drive engagement.

But to show just how critical employers view the employee experience, 84% said they plan to focus on this in the next 3 years, significantly higher than the 54% over the last 3 years.

Additional shifts employers want to make in the next 3 years include:
  • Using technology to deliver benefits messages – 82% (44% over the past 3 years)
  • Creating a shopping experience when signing up for benefits – 65% (38% over the past 3 years)

It will be interesting to see which other new trends emerge with employee benefits as we get into 2020.

Employers Must Always Be Ready for Employee Benefit Trends

Survey’s like the 2019 Benefits Trends Study continue to show just how much employee benefits change from year to year. Employers need to continuously monitor and add-to their benefit plans in order to keep up with employee expectations and make their organization attractive to job seekers.

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