Paternalistic approach offers a virtuous circle

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck

Some benefits trends come full circle, albeit often in a slightly different guise than their original form.

Back in the mid-19th century, employers such as Cadbury and Lever Brothers set up model company towns in order to provide their workforces with affordable housing and social facilities in better areas than they may otherwise have been able to afford.

Over the years, employers have moved away from taking such a paternalistic approach towards their employees. And staff certainly did not expect their employer to play such a hands-on role in their personal lives.

However, what employees are now looking for from their employer appears to be changing. Factors such as ongoing economic challenges and the rise of multi-generational workforces means more employees than previously are now looking to their employer for support in all areas of their lives, not just work-related aspects.

And, as wages have failed to rise at the same rate as the cost of living in some areas, most notably London, many employers have recognised the advantages of providing their employees with additional support, such as mortgage or rent subsidies, or education assistance loans. Read more about what they are doing and why in ‘Are employers returning to a paternalistic benefits approach?’, in the December issue of Employee Benefits.

One area around which staff are likely to need support from their employer is pensions, particularly when it comes to making investment decisions or ensuring their contribution levels are sufficient to produce the retirement income they desire.

Engaging some groups within the workforce with pensions saving can still be a challenge. Find out about some of the ways in which employers can approach this in ‘How to ensure staff are engaged with retirement decisions’.

For those that have achieved this, it is something to shout about. And what better way to do so than to gain recognition at the Employee Benefits Awards 2016? The entry deadline is fast approaching on 11 December 2015. Find all the information you need to enter at

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck