Flex more popular among large employers

EXCLUSIVE: Flexible benefits schemes are more popular among larger employers, according to research by Aon Hewitt.

Its Employee benefits and trends survey 2013, which Employee Benefits published a section of exclusively in September, questioned nearly 350 UK HR and benefits professionals.

It found that 44% of respondents with more than 500 employees provide flexible benefits schemes, while only 15% of employers with less than 500 employees do so.

Almost a quarter (23%) of large employers without flex intend to introduce it in the next three years, while 19% of small employers intend to introduce flexible benefits in the next few years.

Martha How (pictured), reward partner at Aon Hewitt, said: “Our view, which is backed up by this year’s survey, is that [flexible benefits plans] need to continue offering all the traditional benefits while maintaining appeal across an increasingly diverse age demographic.” 

The way that employers are communicating benefits is also changing, according to the research. One in eight (82%) respondents use email communications, while 66% still use printed media. Although 38% believe the use of print media will be reduced.

More than half (53%) use face-to-face presentations, benefits fairs or roadshows. Only 4% use social media to communicate benefits, but 18% intend to use it in the future.

Anne Oliver, head of communications at Aon Hewitt, said: “The norm for employees used to be long pensions booklets and insurance policies with small print and an annual pension statement. 

“The expansion of [flexible benefits] and increased use of electronic media have changed this to online and more visually appealing documents. This evolution is continuing and more employers are deploying social media and web-based interactive tools.”