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Press Release

Working from home revolution drives employers to rethink employee benefits

Integrating wellbeing into the benefit package is top priority

Compensation Strategy & Design|Employee Engagement |Health and Benefits|Inclusion and Diversity|Retirement|Total Rewards|Wellbeing

November 04, 2021

AMSTERDAM, November 4, 2021 — Benelux employers want to realign their benefits programmes to factor in the surge in homeworking, and to reflect a greater awareness of mental health that arose during the pandemic, a study by Willis Towers Watson revealed today.

The rise in remote working was an important driver of change, with three quarters (75%) citing it as a key factor. The tight labour market was the second biggest driver of change, with 67% citing it as a key factor as businesses struggle to attract and retain staff.

In its 2021 Benefit Trends Survey Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company, found that 37% of organisations said their approach to staff emotional wellbeing was identified as a weak area over the past year. To change that, 78% say it is a key priority for the next two years, with 51% planning to enhance their levels of mental health support.

Mental health issues harmful

Sander Kwint, Director Health and Benefits Netherlands, Willis Towers Watson, said: “The pandemic and its lockdowns really raised awareness of how mental health issues can harm the workforce, and the important role employers have to support their people. As we move to a hybrid model of home and office working, employers are keen to use that broader understanding to reshape their benefits packages. Online healthcare, wellbeing apps, and mental health strategies are growing areas of interest for many HR leaders keen to revamp the benefits package.

“We are also seeing a wider shift to recognising and meeting individual needs and circumstances, and that trend is being partly driven by the welcome rise of inclusion and diversity. Technology helps enable a much more personalised and bespoke employee experience that goes beyond what can often be a rigid offer of a few core benefits like a pension and life insurance.”

Limited insight into employees' wants and needs

Many organisations could find it challenging to change course. Only three out of ten (27%) organisations said they understand their employees’ wants and needs. Half (51%) currently have no clear benefits strategy, yet 54% want to create a customised benefits programme over the next two years.

The pandemic has caused many employers to look on benefits in a new light.”

Sander Kwint
Director Health en Benefits Willis Towers Watson Benelux

Sander Kwint added: “The pandemic has caused many employers to look on benefits in a new light. Many organisations face a big gap between where they are and where they want to be, and it is essential that they listen closely to their staff to work out the best ways of personalising and strengthening the employee experience.”

About the Survey

The 2021 Global Benefits Trends Survey was conducted during May and June 2021. Results of the survey are based on responses from 3,642 employers globally, including 56 in the Benelux. These employers represent 14 million employees globally.

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