By Mercer

In order to attract and retain top talent, organisations need to offer benefi­ts programmes that suit individual needs and life stages in addition to providing transparency and portability.

More than just a legal requirement, benefits are an effective way of managing employment costs, improving service and attracting talent. In the digital age, there is a need for flexible benefits that allow companies to strategically allocate their benefits budget toward initiatives that directly contribute to a more productive, happy and healthy workforce.

According to Mercer’s Total Remuneration Survey , the countries where flexible benefits programs are most prevalent are the UK, the US, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, China, India and Singapore. In Western economies, companies implement flexible benefits programmes in order to provide more options, share costs and help employees better understand the value of offered benefits. In Eastern economies, flexible benefits programs allow companies to differentiate themselves in a developing industry and growing economy.

To realise these benefits, Mercer has developed its flexible employee benefits check-list:

  • Our benefits respond to changes in employee position, marital status and income level.
  • We communicate our benefits in a summary of the employee’s total rewards package, as well as changes to our benefits.
  • We review and change our policies as our business and demographic needs change.
  • We allow employees to form their own benefits packages in line with their needs.
  • We give employees the opportunity to exchange benefits while keeping within the allocated budget.
  • We give employees access to discounted prices, tax advantages and national security premium exemptions to help keep benefits affordable.

Looking into the present and future of employee benefits, a growing number of employees today expect their employers to use their purchasing power to offer discounted prices and tax-advantage opportunities. This is especially evident in markets where the GDP growth rate is shrinking and the pressure on wage increases is very high (due to rising inflation), including Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Poland. Companies in these markets are increasingly asking their employees what they want and trying to provide them with a wide range of options to support attraction and retention.

These organisations need to find effective ways to manage rewards while meeting the diverse needs of employees. Flexible benefits programmes are a way of offering these options while staying cost-neutral, increasing engagement and promoting employee accountability.

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