The popularity of flexible benefits plans has risen in the past ten years with 35% of respondents offering full flex compared to 11% in 2004, according to research by Staffcare.
Its See the benefits: A whitepaper on the latest trends in flexible benefits and technology report, which surveyed 108 HR professionals, found that more than 81% of respondents now offer some form of flexible benefits.
In addition, 25% of respondents which do not offer flex are currently considering introducing it in the next 12 months.
The research found that more than 70% of respondents offer flex and salary sacrifice arrangements as a motive to help boost employee engagement, while a further 77% also do it to help employees maximise tax and national insurance savings.
However, more than two-thirds (69%) do not know the total cost of providing and managing their flexible benefits scheme compared to 60% ten years ago.
Communication strategies are also changing with more employers recognising the emergence of social media. Nearly two-thirds (73%) of respondents acknowledged that social media is playing an increasing part in their communications strategies.
But traditional methods still prove popular among respondents, with 72% citing face-to-face communication as an effective tool in engaging employees.
More than two-thirds (67%) offer an online benefits platform to improve communications and give better information to staff.
The research also found:
- 63% administer flexible benefits through an online portal and do so to reduce the burden on HR departments.
- 50% of respondents seek some form of advice and support, including benefit broking and market intelligence.
- 35% introduce new flexible benefits each year.
- 5% believe the benefits they offer to be market leading.
- 12% consider their benefits to be very restricted.
- 83% of respondents believe their flexible benefits to be reasonable and competitive.
Phil Hollingdale (pictured), chief executive officer and founder of Staffcare, said: “The turning point for the rise in adoption of flex plans came during the recession of 2008.
“Organisations had to change their priorities in an environment of job cuts and pay freezes, but still wanted to do something to reward and motivate the workforce. Today, being an employer of choice is a constant objective in the fight for talent.
“Offering an attractive and personalised benefits scheme has become an important recruitment and engagement tool for [organisations], being proven to minimise staff turnover, improve morale among employees and increase workplace productivity.
“Through combining flexible benefits with an online benefits platform and an integrated communication strategy, organisation can significantly improve engagement with their employees.
“With so many firms now offering some form of flexibility, employers could be missing a trick by not investing in a comprehensive benefits communication strategy.
“Now is the time for employers to re-engage with their workforce, better communicate their offerings and ensure staff members fully understand the value of the benefits offered .”