Forward-thinking organizations know how employee benefits can support employee wellbeing, increase employee engagement, and even create employee advocacy. However, to do any of these things, the benefits offered by employers must resonate with their employees.
So, what benefits are most important to employees? As we share in our Benefits and Engagement report, the answer to this question is complicated.
To compile the report, we surveyed approximately 5,000 participants aged 18 and over in the UK, Germany, and Sweden. We aimed to discover what benefits are most important, what benefits they would consider changing employers for, and how they access their benefits today.
Needs and wants vary from country to country
Although some benefits are considered important in all three countries, each country is also unique.
For example, flexibility and work-life balance rank highly in the UK. Mobility is considered more important in Germany than in Sweden and the UK, while skills development is less so. Healthcare benefits, especially wellbeing benefits, rank higher in Sweden than in the other two countries.
Needs and wants change with age
Not only are there differences between countries, but there are also differences between age groups. In Sweden, mobility benefits, such as cycling, public transport, or car benefits, are more important for those under 40 than over, while work-life balance is most important for employees between 30 and 39.
In Germany, bonus and profit-sharing and flexibility are the two benefits considered most important for all ages. Food and drink benefits (e.g. lunch subsidies) are also regarded as important to 18–29-year-olds and 30–39-year-olds, ranking even higher than healthcare and pension benefits.
In the UK, flexibility (e.g. working hours, the ability to work from home) is the most important benefit for all age groups except those over 60. Bonus and profit-sharing is the second most important benefit for all age groups except those over 60, where interestingly it becomes the most important.
Needs and wants vary by gender
Even once you have considered geographical location and age, there are also differences to consider when it comes to which benefits men and women consider most important.
Our survey shows that certain benefits, such as insurance, food and drink, and employee discounts, are almost equally important for men and women. However, we see that flexibility, work-life balance, and skills development rank higher among women than men, while mobility and pensions rank higher among men than women. To add further complexity, don’t forget that gender preferences also differ from country to country!
Getting it right, right now
Almost everyone’s work conditions have changed due to Covid-19, and the support that employee benefits can provide cannot be overstated. Supporting employee wellbeing has never been more critical than today, and employee benefits are one of the most effective ways to offer your employees support.
With multiple generations sharing the workplace, it’s crucial that a company’s benefits offering has something for everyone and meets each individual’s needs. How? One of the ways is through a flexible benefits plan that allows employees to select from a variety of pre-tax offerings to create a customized benefits package that matches their needs. Of course, knowing what benefits are of value to your employees and which to include is key.
To discover the findings from our ground-breaking survey, download The Benefits and Engagement Report.