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The benefits that are most important to employees in 2020

  • 4 Min Read

New research highlights that, for benefits to be useful to employees, they need to be completely tailor-made and personalized.

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While no organization has been unaffected by COVID-19, the nature of the impact varies widely; some industries are experiencing large declines, while others are experiencing increased demand.

But industry aside, the degree to which an organization is affected by the pandemic is also significantly influenced by its resilience and its ability to adapt to change.

As a result, employers are increasingly recognizing their responsibility to offer support to employees. But in many cases, the question remains: what exactly do employees want from their organizations? To find out, Benify surveyed more than 5,000 employees from various industries and age groups throughout Europe to find out what benefits are most important to them.

The people have spoken

When we asked participants which employee benefit would make them consider changing employers if their offering was better, 42% cited flexibility. In fact, flexibility is the most desired employee benefit for women and men across all ages and industries, and has proven particularly desirable among those under the age of 30, with more 50% of this age group making it their number-one choice.

The emphasis on flexibility may come as a surprise when many workforces around the world are operating remotely and are already likely to have greater flexibility than before COVID-19. However, as Katie Goodwin, Head of Client Relations International at Benify explains, the meaning of flexibility has changed with the onset of the pandemic.

She said: “Flexibility pre-COVID-19 meant making sure your work could fit around your life, and that’s even more relevant now. Work and home lives are now blurred, and juggling your family commitments, elderly care, children, and being able to go for a run in the middle of the day takes a different level of flexibility.

“Getting into the headspace of being able to separate your work and your life when it’s all in one place is a challenge. The flexibility of being able to differentiate between those two things is really important to people.”

The flexibility to choose

However, it’s not just flexible working hours and increased remote working that employees want today; it’s also flexibility around employee benefits. In fact, 75% of survey participants in Sweden, 66% in the UK, and 63% in Germany said it would be helpful to adjust their employee benefits package according to their personal needs.

In organizations everywhere, we see multiple generations working together, each with their own needs and preferences. In our survey, not only can we see differences between countries, but also between age groups.

However, age and geographical location are not the only variables to take into account here; gender has also proven to be significant. This only further highlights that, for benefits to be useful to employees, they need to be completely tailor-made and personalized.

The role of technology

However, flexibility can quickly turn into an administrative nightmare without the right tools in place. Fortunately, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that we can adapt quickly when we need to. COVID-19 has accelerated the digitization that was already underway, and if not for the digital developments in recent years, the crisis would undoubtedly have had different and potentially more profound effects on our working lives.

Technology plays a vital role in the way we work and the overall employee experience. Our research shows that 50% of employees in the UK and Sweden under the age of 30 say they would like their employer to offer them access to digital tools such as an employee benefits platform.

For all of us today, our mobile phones have become an integral part of our personal life and work life. This is reflected in our study where 56% of employees in Sweden, 49% in the UK, and 48% in Germany say it is important to them that they can access their benefits through a mobile phone app.

How are you managing the current situation, and are you giving your employees what they want and need? Discover more findings and take your organization’s employee experience to the next level by downloading The Benefits and Engagement Report: A European employer’s guide to employee experience of the 2020s.

To learn more about global benefits management, visit Benify Insights, where you can browse and download e-books, white papers and client cases, as well as read our latest blog posts, listen to webinars and more.

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