For many people, the new year represents a new start, an opportunity to pursue self-improvement, whether that be a pledge to lose weight, learn a new skill or even to spend more time with family.

By the same token, there is no reason why it can’t also be a time to review your employee benefits strategy.

Over time, the wants and needs of a workforce will change, so it pays to make sure you keep pace.

Below are four areas you may want to look at to ensure your staff have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.

 

Financial education

 

As the cost of professional financial advice has risen, the onus for providing financial education, particularly for those on low incomes, has shifted gradually to the employer.

Despite this, survey after survey suggests the vast majority of firms do not run financial education programmes for their employees.

Why? The obvious factor is the perceived cost. However, a number of studies have shown that addressing employees’ financial issues not only results in a happier workforce, but also a more productive one as they are no longer plagued by money worries. Stress comes from the fear of losing control, so if you can help people take control of their finances, you will reduce their fears, anxieties and worries. Everything else equal, this should not only translate into better outcomes for your employees but bigger profits for your company as well.

 

Wellbeing

 

Many companies have well-established wellbeing programmes offering a wide range of benefits to their employees.

But how many can truly say they are doing everything they can to spot mental health issues and help those who may be suffering from them?

Mental health has gone from being a taboo subject just a few years ago to being something that is more understood and accepted in wider society.

As a result, we have discovered that far more of us suffer from mental health issues than was once thought.

Employers, therefore, should ensure that they can detect and provide support for those with mental health issues.

 

Pension contributions

 

Auto-enrolment helped instil a retirement savings culture in the UK and will ensure millions of people are better off in retirement than they would have otherwise been.

Despite this, there are still concerns that many of us are not saving as much for retirement as we should be.

The auto enrolment minimum staff contribution is set to rise from 3% to 5% on 6 April while employer contributions will rise from a minimum of 2% to 3% at the same time.

However, where possible, it is a good idea to encourage staff to pay more into their pensions.

Key to this is a good communications strategy that not only highlights the benefits of saving enough but also the danger of saving too little.

It is also beneficial to direct staff to pensions tools, calculators and even professional advice should they want to know more.

 

Benefits

 

It’s tempting to think that the job is complete once you’ve settled on a range of benefits that seem to work ok.

However, workforces change over time – employees come and go, and as staff grow older, there is a good chance their needs will change, too.

CIPD research from the end of last year revealed that three in four employers don’t review the impact of staff benefits on individuals or the business.

So why not use the New Year as an excuse to review yours? That way you can be sure that the benefits you offer continue to be relevant to the people in your company.

The big question is: how?

In a small firm it is easy to pull individuals aside to determine what they want and need to be more comfortable in the workplace. However, this is impossible if you work for a large organisation.

Therefore, anonymous surveys, complimented by face-to-face chats with a small cross-section of the workforce can be a good indicator of what benefits are working and those which are needed.

Armed with this sort of information, you will be able to more effectively tailor your wellbeing programme to the individuals in your firm.

 

For help reviewing your employee benefits package, contact us today.

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