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Beyond Salary

A recent Southern Cross article reports on research which has revealed noticeable gaps between employers’ and employees’ opinions and experiences of employment benefits:

The research, which was commissioned by Southern Cross Health Society, asked more than 1,000 employees and about 140 of employers for their views on benefits such as health insurance, flexible working, wellbeing initiatives, childcare support and extra leave entitlements.

Health insurance was No.1 for employees but only 6th for employers

When asked to rate the importance of a range of employment benefits, 76% of employees put ‘major medical’ health insurance as very important, while 69% said flexible working and 65% said ‘day-to-day’ health insurance.

In contrast, employers prioritised flexible working, mental health initiatives and subsidised training, with health insurance in sixth place.

Employers think they offer more than what employees think they receive

There was also a significant imbalance between the benefits that employers said they offered and those that employees said they received. For example, 82% of employers said they offered physical wellbeing management, while only 61% of employees said they received it.

The same applied to benefits such as flexible working (83% employers vs 52% employees), subsidised training (82% employers vs 43% employees) and company cultural activities (78% employers vs 44% employees). However, these differences may be because some benefits are not made available to all employees.

The results highlight the needs for the employers to ensure that employees know about the benefits to which they’re entitled, both at induction and during their employment.

Align your employee benefits and reap the rewards

“This result clearly indicates that employers could be missing out on important opportunities to improve the way they attract, recruit and retain staff,” says Chris Watney, Southern Cross Chief Marketing Officer.

“The employment market is changing. Today’s jobseekers are looking for employers who understand their needs, offer benefits that offer choice and flexibility, and support their physical, emotional, financial and social wellbeing.

“By factoring these requirements into their strategies and benefit offerings, businesses will likely enhance their workplace culture and strengthen their position as employers of choice.”

Other highlights of the research included employers’ increasing awareness of the need to support employees’ mental health, and employees’ willingness to contribute to the costs of insurance products (just over half currently pay the full costs of health insurance).

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