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Employees willing to swap pay for personalised benefits

By John Brazier from MetLife Report on Wednesday, 12 May, 2021

The most recent release has illustrated how the desired employee benefits is changing, primarily in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost two in three (65%) now care more about financial protection over ‘softer' perks, such as gym memberships, that have largely been rendered redundant over the past 12 months.

Employees willing to swap pay for personalised benefits

Research shows workers would work harder for employers providing employee benefits that support their individual needs

The latest instalment in insurer MetLife's Re:Me report has found that almost half of UK employees (48%) would sacrifice more of their basic salary for a personalised employee benefits package.

Previous instalments of the report have found that employee wellbeing will define retention levels for employers, employees are seeking greater working flexibility and that employers are now facing greater social responsibility for their staff.

 

The most recent release has illustrated how the desired employee benefits is changing, primarily in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost two in three (65%) now care more about financial protection over ‘softer' perks, such as gym memberships, that have largely been rendered redundant over the past 12 months.

The importance of more personalised benefits has underlined in the report, which found that almost seven in 10 (69%) workers admitted they'd work harder for an employer who provides employee benefits that support their individual needs.

While salary remains the most important factor for women aged 50+ (66%), opportunities for personal development are most valued by women aged 18-29 (48%), the report found.

Flexible working proved to be a universally important perk, but slightly more so for women than men. 57% of women aged 50+ voiced its importance as did 48% of females aged 18-29 and 47% of those aged 30-49. This compares with a 50% ranking for males aged 50+ and just 39% for those aged 18-29.

According to MetLife, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in employers changing communicate with staff about the benefits already available to them, as 63% revealed they had seen an increase in employees' queries about benefits since the pandemic and 61% said they had noticed an increase in the need for mental wellbeing products.

 

Change of mindset

Adrian Matthews, EB director at MetLife UK, commented that the previous employer mindset where higher pay and job security was the answer to a multitude of problems has now been replaced by the desire for a more holistic approach to employee benefits.

"Talk of a four-day week and flexible working had started to make their way into our corporate vocabulary before the pandemic but in practice they were largely left to smaller SMEs or start-ups to introduce. Fast forward to 2021 and we've seen a seismic shift in the way we work and where we do it," Matthews said.

"During the pandemic with social venues closed, the ‘softer' benefits such as gym memberships and Friday drinks became obsolete and while many of us look forward to socialising after work with a colleague again, more functional benefits such as income protection are proving to be more worthwhile. Benefits valued by employees have changed, as the pandemic has brought health and wellness to the forefront of everyone's minds.

"Ensuring that the benefit packages employers offer suits all members of the team is crucial to protect productivity and encourage loyalty for the long term. Our research found that more than two thirds (69%) of employees ‘will work harder for an employer who provides employee benefits that support my individual needs'. Employers must recognise how the needs of their employees will have changed in the past 12 months and work with them to find practical solutions that can be introduced quickly."



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