Just 55% of employees feel they have received the support they needed from their employers during the pandemic despite more than two-thirds (69%) of organisations increasing their benefit spend considerably over the past two years, research has revealed.
Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) polled 332 UK HR and reward professionals as well as 162 employees for its report The digital revolution – accelerated approaches to employee reward, wellbeing and engagement.
The study found that while 88% of organisations quickly adapted their benefits in response to the pandemic, only 22% of employees realised theirs had changed while four in 10 felt their employee experience was worse as a result of Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
According to the report, 60% of employers changed their value-added benefits while four in 10 altered their core benefits. More than four-fifths (83%) introduced new wellbeing offerings as a direct result of the pandemic.
Despite employees’ overall lack of understanding of many of these amendments, those that did notice a change most appreciated the increased provision of mental wellbeing support.
More than four in five organisations are seeing more executive involvement in benefits design and communication, suggesting that making a compelling business case to secure budgets is becoming a key priority for HR teams.
Despite this – and more than six in 10 employers now spending between 16% and 25% of base salary per employee on benefits – only around half report on benefit take-up levels, according to the poll, so many are lacking insights into return on investment.
David Dodd, partner at MMB, explained that better communication is needed to deliver more relevant and personalised benefits, ideally through a consumer-grade digital experience.
“In this period dubbed the great resignation, ensuring the workforce feels supported and heard is not only important in fostering a positive culture, it is also key to effective talent retention and attraction,” he said.
“If employees are not perceiving the value of their benefits, there is a danger that when this spend comes under greater scrutiny, justifying budgets will become increasingly difficult.”