The role of legal services in the provision of more tailored employee benefits programmes
The range and type of employee benefits available has grown over the last twenty years and now include much more than just a company pension or car. From health and life insurance, to discounted gym membership and free fruit in the workplace, many employers have introduced an array of benefits to help both attract and retain employees.
And it certainly seems to have had an impact on employee expectations. In a survey conducted by Grass Roots1, 84% of employees said benefits are important in keeping them in their current job and nearly 50% said they were likely to turn down a job because the benefits package wasn’t as good as they wanted.
So clearly, the provision of benefits is playing an important role in keeping employees engaged and loyal. However, the current lack of innovation in the employee benefit sector means that the needs and expectations of diverse and often demanding workforces are not being fully met. Employers need to think more creatively about how to deliver benefits that are more in tune with the daily lives of their employees.
Relevant and responsive benefits
Perhaps the most significant challenge is how to be relevant to a multi-generational workforce, where the age of employees can range from early twenties to mid-sixties and whose benefit needs will vary quite significantly. A childless twenty-something employee, for example, is unlikely to be interested in life insurance, whereas someone with young children will be. Furthermore, an aging population means that many older employees will have elderly parents to look out for and will value benefits that assist them in this area.
Providing products and services that respond to changes in an employee’s life – marriage, children, buying a house, divorce, the death of a parent – enable employers to tailor benefits to make them more relevant and timely for the individual employee. This approach will demonstrate a concern for the welfare of both the individual and their family and will help to increase employee engagement and loyalty.
Alignment of financial and legal needs
In terms of the kinds of benefits that can be included in a tailored, multi-generational programme, life and protection insurance and flexible working are obvious options, but so too are financial and legal advice and services. In fact, a recent study by Capita2, indicated that 60% of employees felt their employer should provide them with access to financial education to help with retirement planning. At the same time, a report by the Legal Services Board3 showed that 22m people in the UK have experienced a legal need in the last 3 years.