Outdated benefits costing businesses talent

Companies that ignore the needs of graduates are at risk of missing out on top young talent, as nine out of 10 graduates say benefits play a key role in attracting them to a role.

Benefit schemes in the UK have been ignoring younger employees, as just 16% of UK employees under 25 said that their current benefits package is suitable for them.

This figure increased to 24% of young professionals aged 25-34.

Gurinder Sagoo, HR director for North Europe and Oceania, at Wet Ones said the pandemic has shown HR teams that it is important to ensure people have the support they need to lead active and healthy lifestyles.

Sagoo told HR magazine: “There is an urgency to adapt employee wellbeing packages that has emerged during the last year.

“It’s also essential for benefits packages to cater for everyone in the workplace, by taking into account each individual’s age, lifestyle and personal circumstances.”

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The travel restrictions put in place during coronavirus have had an effect on young employees which is reflected in their desire for additional travel-related benefits.

Just under a third (30%) of under-25s said they want to see travel vaccinations included in their benefits packages, and 25% want additional ‘health day’ holiday packages to support mental health.

Flexible working options are also high on the desired list of employee benefit, as 21% asked for greater flexibility on working hours.

Kris Ambler, workforce lead at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), said the pandemic has had a substantial effect on the types of benefits employees of all ages want. 

“Lockdown loneliness and digital fatigue are among the phrases that have entered our lexicon and many employees are contending with bereavement and grief, redundancy, restructuring and job insecurity.

“This means that employee benefit programmes will need to be more personalised; managers will have to be more intuitive when assessing the mental wellbeing of remote workers; and financial wellbeing support will need to play a larger role within the employee benefits and occupational health mix.”

Ambler said it is important employers invest in employee benefit schemes as it makes good economic sense and demonstrates a genuine commitment to their duty of care to staff.

“Support services, including counselling, can help to identify and address problems early, they can alleviate the psychological impact of negative work situations and keep employees working effectively and productively,” she said.

All research was taken from the 2021 Employee Benefits, Health and Wellbeing Survey.