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Meeting multi-generational needs named top benefits challenge facing Swiss employers

Benefits Trends Survey 2019

Health and Benefits
N/A

December 2, 2019

Two thirds of Swiss employers (67%) believe that meeting the diverse needs of a multi-generational workforce will be their number one employee benefits challenge over the next three years

ZURICH, 2 December 2019 – Two thirds of Swiss employers (67%) believe that meeting the diverse needs of a multi-generational workforce will be their number one employee benefits challenge over the next three years. This is one of the key outcomes of the global 2019 Benefits Trends Survey from Willis Towers Watson.

The importance of modernising and broadening the scope of employee benefits to meet the evolving needs and expectations of the today’s workforces – and to raise the bar in the drive to attract and retain top talent – has been clearly recognised by Swiss employers.”

Reto Ebnöther
Head of Health & Benefits Switzerland

For the first time ever, today’s modern workplace may see up to five generations working side-by-side – from the silent generation through to their youngest, Gen Z colleagues – and each brings with it a different set of expectations, risks and requirements. While this divergent demographic has the potential to bring far-reaching skills and experiences to the table, it not only raises new questions and challenges for Swiss employers but also for employers across Western Europe. Meeting the diverse needs of a multigenerational workforce is believed the key challenge among 67% of Swiss employers.

The different expectations call for a flexible approach to benefits strategies that reflects the needs of all employees, maximises inclusivity and engagement, while ensuring the employee population feels valued. “When designing their benefits programmes, organisations should take the pulse of their workforces to avoid falling foul of misapprehensions based on demographic stereotypes. In some cases, benefits will be equally valued across the generational divide. Pensions, for example, remains one of the most popular employee benefits, irrespective of age”, says Alexandra Lyner, Global Benefits Management Consultant, Switzerland & Western Europe.

Swiss employers need to catch up

Establishing a successful, future-proof benefits strategy calls for balancing evolving employee needs with effective engagement, developments in the benefits marketplace, corporate and cultural objectives, benchmark data, pay scale structures, administrative requirements, budgets and cost management.

Only three in ten employers (31%), meanwhile, effectively differentiate their benefits from their competitors. Furthermore just 33% have tailored their benefits portfolio to meet their workforce needs. This despite almost over half (56%) claiming they understand their requirements. Lyner sums up: “Considering these revelations, it is a little surprise that only a quarter (25%) of businesses would strongly recommend their company as a place to work, based on their benefits package.”

Shifting trend towards wellbeing The results of the 2019 survey further anticipate a shifting trend. While in 2017 the biggest area of focus for Swiss companies has been their administration, closely followed by their financing, the focus currently shifts towards wellbeing. 62% of respondents put financial, physical, emotional as well as social wellbeing on top of their agenda, making it a key part of their benefits strategy. “The improved business outcomes arising from meaningful employee wellbeing initiatives have been widely acknowledged – from increases in productivity and staff retention to reductions in sickness absence rates”, says Reto Ebnöther, Head of Health & Benefits Switzerland.

When designing their benefits programmes, organisations should take the pulse of their workforces to avoid falling foul of misapprehensions based on demographic stereotypes.”

Alexandra Lyner
Global Benefits Management Consultant, Switzerland & Western Europe

Raising the bar in benefits delivery and communication “The importance of modernising and broadening the scope of employee benefits to meet the evolving needs and expectations of the today’s workforces – and to raise the bar in the drive to attract and retain top talent – has been clearly recognised by Swiss employers”, Ebnöther concludes.

On top of the programs designed, communication needs to be tailored. Indeed, almost three quarters (74%) of businesses are looking to enhance the communication of benefits to employees. Technology is going to play an important role, with participants saying that over the next 3 years they are going to use new technology to help deliver messages to employees and support them in the decision making.

About the survey

The Willis Towers Watson Benefits Trends Survey takes the pulse of current employer perspectives and strategies, exploring the programmes they have in place, their priorities and the key challenges they face over the coming years. Globally, the study was conducted among 4,300 companies in 88 markets, covering more than 22 million employees. The 48 companies participating in Switzerland represent a total workforce of 795 thousand across a wide range of industries – from energy and utilities, financial services and healthcare to IT and telecoms, manufacturing and the public sector. The survey was first launched in 2017 and contains the largest sample of its kind.

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