What Technologies and Consistencies Should Lead every Tech Employer’s Management Measures?
By Chris Bruce, Co-founder and Managing Director, Darwin
The work from home era has added a new degree of complexity to daily working life, requiring employees to adapt to both the pros and cons associated with remote work. This transition came at a time when the international working landscape – in which skills and expertise are shared across borders – had already increased the need for a globally consistent employee experience. As a result, benefits have become more important than ever, eliciting greater employee loyalty than job role, colleagues or organizational culture. Business leaders are now taking a second look at the role of the physical workplace – and, most notably, how benefits are impacted by the new ways of working. It is still uncertain when it will be safe for many to return to the office, but one thing is clear: it is more important than ever for employees to feel that they have the same employee experience regardless of where they work. Employers need to be aware of their employees’ shifting needs at all times, but it is especially vital at times of confusion and uncertainty. They can achieve this goal and provide what their employees need by adapting their benefits offering to ensure it’s relevant and meets the necessary requirements.
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Technology paves the way to consistent employee benefits
Not all employee experiences are created equal, but our latest research – which found that just over half (53%) of employees believe they get the same benefits experience wherever they are based – is encouraging. There is still work to do, however, as other employees are bogged down by regional anomalies ranging from mixed messaging and inconsistent branding to a lack of personalization. This would be a cause for concern in any climate – but it is especially challenging in a remote work environment that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future for many employees.
Employee needs naturally differ across the globe, but one thing remains constant: employees value an experience that is consistent no matter where they are located. This was evident when more than four-fifths (81%) of our survey participants told us that achieving a “globally consistent employee experience” is a “high priority” for the next 12 months. Technology is essential to achieving this, not only by empowering employees with easy access to their benefits as and when they need them, but also delivering one look and feel for the whole organization.
A centralized backend can also help benefits and HR teams accurately analyze benefits data – including spend, uptake and engagement – across the globe. This makes it possible to quickly shift and adapt as necessary, reducing unnecessary expenditures while successfully predicting future costs.
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Employee benefits should be as unique as each employee
The pandemic has drastically changed employee needs on a state-, country-, and global-level. Some, for example, have taken on the task of caring for an elderly relative. Others had to bring additional family members into the home during stay-at-home orders or learn to navigate the challenges of caring for children while trying to adjust to remote working.
In order to best meet employees’ varying needs, organizations can rely on the flexibility of wellbeing benefits pots, which allow employees to choose how best to spend their allowance. For example, working parents could select items that best support their needs in caring for their children. Others might prefer at-home workout equipment, additional hardware to set them up for home working or additional resources to help care for young children.
Flexibility is incredibly important; our research shows that nearly three-fourths (73%) of businesses spend more than 16% of their wage bill on employee benefits every year. More than 1/3 (42%) spend more than 21% on benefits. With so many dollars allocated to benefits spend, employers can’t afford to devote resources to benefits that aren’t fit for purpose.
Employees’ needs are likely to shift during such uncertain times, including what they want from their benefits packages. By embracing an intelligent benefits platform that offers flexible benefits pots, organizations can personalize employee benefits, satisfy employees’ changing needs and focus on options that will make a meaningful difference.
The only constant is the need for consistency
The work environment may change, but the need for consistency will not. Many organizations are making the changes needed to be able to deliver what employees need most. Nearly half (44%) are planning to fully centralize their HR operations within the next 12 months and 11% are planning to do so within three years. This is an encouraging sign, and it’s just the beginning – the percentage of organizations that currently purchase their benefits technology (39%) and/or administer (38%) their employee benefits on a global scale has increased since 2019. Employers should take note and strive to deliver a globally consistent experience for employers regardless of where they work.
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