Two-thirds (66%) of employers find that providing benefits that suit the needs of a diverse workforce is a major challenge, according to research by global insurance brokerage, risk management and consultancy firm Gallagher.
Its Benefits strategy and benchmarking survey, which polled 172 UK employers, also found that 45% of HR professionals plan to change their current benefits provision, with 72% of those who do aim to make changes seeking to enhance their offering. Just under half (47%) want to increase the number of flexible options within their benefits package, to extend individual choice.
In terms of flexible working, 91% of respondents offer part-time roles or shorter hours and 69% enable staff to personalise their working hours, within certain parameters. However, 52% of employers do not allow staff to work from home.
Just over two-fifths (43%) of organisations offer their employees the opportunity to work a condensed week, while 24% provide agile working options. Only 14% of employers have the ability to offer term-time only working arrangements.
Communication is also a topic on employers’ radars, as 36% view this as a barrier to effective employee benefits. The majority (84%) of respondents do not use total reward statements to communicate about their benefits; of those that do use this method, 77% send them digitally.
More than half (52%) of respondents state that it is difficult to adequately benchmark their benefits offering against the market.
Leslie Lemenager, president, international employee benefits consulting and brokerage at Gallagher, said: “While cost is always central to business performance, we are seeing a shift in the market as employers are having to compete for talent in a very diverse workforce.
“The fact that 47% of organisations are aiming to enhance flexibility in benefits provisions, despite cost management being the biggest challenge, points to a strong recognition that there is a need to go above and beyond to attract and retain talent.”