Core benefits need to be extended to all workers

Many employers are not providing employee benefits that support the core needs of their workforce, according to a new survey by consultancy Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing.

Almost two in every three employers (63%) don’t yet offer employees essential protection and benefits such as workplaces pensions.

Howden identified income protection, financial wellbeing support, life assurance and access to private health professionals and treatments as the four core benefit areas that good employers should always aim to offer.

The survey found that 8% of employers do not provide any of the core benefits to their employees, while 37% provide some but not all of them.

A further 17% of employers said they offer all four core benefits, but not to all employees.  

Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Howden, said that employers need to protect and support workers of all grades.

Speaking to HR magazine he said: “In these uncertain times an employee who genuinely believes that the employer has their back is likely to be more engaged, and by extension more productive too. 

“As the return to the physical workplace begins over the next few months, it will be more important than ever that employers are assured of maximum productivity from every individual in their workforce.”

More on employee benefits:

Employers not measuring the impact of employee benefits

Employee benefits should be 'reversed' in 2020

Two in five UK companies change employee benefit programmes due to COVID-19

The move to remote work and increased personal worries due to coronavirus has led to a high demand in mental health services among staff.

According to research from the workforce training site CoursesOnline 66% of employees think more time and resources should be dedicated to mental health in the workplace.

Herbert said that HR must ensure employees receive the benefits they are most in need of.

“I would strongly encourage HR professionals to carefully check that their employee benefits package offers at least a foundation level of support to all employees.

“They should then focus on building a more bespoke offering in the months and years ahead to make an even stronger benefits offering that protects, supports, and motivates employees of all grades,” he said.

The survey was taken at The Howden Employment Webinar on 10 December 2020 with an audience of nearly 200 senior HR and finance professionals from a variety of private, public and third sector organisations.