EXCLUSIVE: 36% have not reviewed core benefits in the last two years

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Just over a third (36%) of respondents have not reviewed their core benefits offering in the last two years, according to research by Hargreaves Lansdown.

Its study of 350 employers also found that only 13% of organisations that provide flexible benefits do not operate salary sacrifice arrangements, or if they do, it is only used for pension contributions.

The research also found:

  • 61% of respondents add new benefits to their packages based on what is proving most popular.
  • 44% of respondents offer a health cash plan, with 7% adding this benefit in the last 12 months and 5% planning to include it in the next 12 months.
  • 49% of respondents which offer flexible benefits also provide a total reward statement.
  • 72% of respondents with flexible benefits restrict changes to an annual benefit window.
  • 52% of respondents that provide flexible benefits do not offer flexibility around employer-funded core benefits.
  • 51% of respondents which provide flexible benefits are more likely to have conducted a staff review

Nathan Long, senior pensions analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Employers can be swayed simply by the buzz of doing something new and popular when reviewing benefits. This isn’t necessarily as effective as creating a package of benefits specifically tailored to their own workforce.

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“For many [organisations], flexible benefits programmes are not that flexible. On average, [organisations] offering flexible benefits strategies are more attentive to their benefits line-up, but they certainly aren’t getting the most from their benefits platform.

“Nervousness around Brexit, the fates of salary sacrifice and perceived complexity around new benefits has stalled the addition of new benefits for many. Employers must resist the temptation to bury their head in the sand. Failure to evolve benefits could leave them at a disadvantage to their competitors.”