Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Catching the wellbeing wave – why health & happiness is vital for employee experience

Global businesses focusing on employee experience & wellbeing in bid to differentiate themselves

Thomsons Online Benefits finds that forward-thinking global organisations are transitioning away from traditional reward strategies in an effort to create the best possible experiences for employees, to enrich their lives and positively impact their wellbeing.

Global Employee Benefits Watch 2017/18 reveals that those organisations with a longer-standing, transformational approach to benefits are far more likely to achieve this, being 60% more likely to have employee wellbeing initiatives in place. This puts them at a clear advantage when differentiating their employee offering and engaging their people – who now prioritise a higher quality of life over salary.

Thomsons found that over half of workers say that the workplace negatively impacts their wellbeing, while Americans have lost a week of vacation time since 2000. This is set against a rising global obesity epidemic, which will see 34% of UK adults identified as obese by 2025 . These factors are driving companies to re-position their benefits strategies to focus on employee wellbeing, caring for their families and helping them save for the future.

The research from the SaaS provider of global benefits and employee engagement software, found that global employers are:

  • four times more likely to be effective in attracting and retaining their talent if they have a global benefits strategy in place and
  • seven times more likely to be effective if this has been established for three or more years

This is due to these organisations deploying global benefits best practice over several years. For instance, having a benefits strategy aligned to their people strategy, automated HR processes, communicating benefits through digital channels, and having access to global data through benefits analytics. The few HR teams that adopted global benefits technology early are now able to draw on the data generated to create an accurate picture of their workforce, enabling them to segment employees and deliver the highly personalised reward schemes that enhance employee experience and wellbeing. 

“Global economies are becoming more fluid, and this evolution is driving fundamental shifts in the employer-employee relationship,” comments, Matthew Gregson, SVP data and analytics at Thomsons Online Benefits. “Employees’ time horizons are shortening, both personally and professionally, meaning they are looking for an employer that will make their day-to-day lives better, which necessitates HR teams to spend more time on the experiential, which drives culture, engagement and wellbeing. They will only be able to do this consistently when they have the technology to make this happen.”

Nick Lawry, Reward Manager at Virgin Management explains: “Benefits have never been more vital in ensuring the wellbeing and peace of mind of employees as part of offering a fantastic employee experience. From offering financial education through to super flexible working and unlimited annual leave, we try to give people the benefits and the flexibility that allow them to take control and make the choices that are best for them in their lives.”

In Bersin’s latest research, the most mature HR functions spend only 29% of their overall time on transactional work, while the least mature spend double this time (58%). Those organisations channelling their time towards creating a flexible and empowering workplace experience are five times more effective at improving employee engagement and retention than their peers. Bersin’s study of High Impact HR organisations finds they regularly outperform their peers in analytics, artificial intelligence and data security.

“Hope is not a strategy; those organisations without a global approach to benefits underpinned by technology now risk being left behind. While their contemporaries, who were bold enough to ride the first wave of digitalisation in HR, find themselves ahead,” revealed Gregson. “Those businesses with a successful technology-enabled benefits strategy in place are at a huge advantage as they amass the data to harness new analytics capabilities to create and promote schemes their employees really value.”

Thomsons’ research, which surveyed 400 HR and reward professionals across APAC, North America, Latin America, Europe, and UK, found that having an online benefits platform increases the chance of employers being able to measure every aspect of their benefits programmes by more than double. Those organisations with analytics capability are:

  • twice as likely to effectively budget and predict global costs
  • twice as likely to be offering the benefits employees want and
  • 95% more likely to be offering benefits that impact and drive strategic business objectives
  • nearly three times more likely to see a reduction in admin errors and
  • twice as likely to see a reduction in overcharges and an increase in operational efficiency

For more information, get the Global Employee Benefits Watch 2017/18 here.