Half of employers believe they should look after staff

More than half (52%) of employer respondents believe they have an obligation to look after their employees and aim to reflect this in the benefits package, according to research by Unum.

The research, which was carried out by Populus and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), surveyed 245 organisations across a range of sectors, as well as 2,000 employees.

It found that 36% of employer respondents said they it is better for their employees to obtain financial benefits through workplace schemes, rather than on an individual basis.

The research also found:

  • 62% of employee respondents said pension contributions are the most important benefit.
  • 60% of employee respondents said their employer should offer them group income protection.
  • 26% of employee respondents value ‘soft’ benefits, such as gym membership.
  • 51% of employer respondents said the anticipated cost of implementing changes was a drawback to reviewing the benefits they offer.

Peter O’Donnell, chief executive officer at Unum (pictured), said: “Employers can use their benefits much more effectively than they’re currently doing.

“If their staff have been educated to fully understand their packages, it can have a huge impact on their brand loyalty and engagement with their employer. Employers need to listen to their staff to work out what they want, and what they need.

“Matching the wants and needs of employees with what [employers] are providing not only helps employees, it makes commercial sense for the business, and understanding that is the key to a truly modern approach to benefits.”

Dr Benjamin Reid, senior researcher at The Work Foundation, added: “We’re seeing major changes in the way that employees think about their benefits, and we’ve found that even those presumed to be the most footloose and fancy-free in our society are moving towards wanting a much higher level of security from their benefits.

“They are becoming much more traditional in their approach to benefits. The recession has forced them to think about their finances in a different way.”