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Tight labour markets and rising costs drive Vietnam employers to rethink employee benefit strategy, Willis Towers Watson survey finds

Integrating wellbeing into the benefit package is top priority for Vietnam employers

Health and Benefits|Total Rewards|Wellbeing
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October 18, 2021

VIETNAM, October 18, 2021 — The war for talent, heightened focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, and rising benefit costs are fueling a surge in companies planning to revamp their employee benefit strategy. Their goals are to differentiate themselves, personalise the employee experience and manage the costs of their benefit programmes. That is according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

The 2021 Benefits Trends Survey found that eight in ten (83%) employers in Vietnam plan to differentiate and customise their benefit programmes over the next two years, a sharp increase from just 24% today. More than half (55%) cited tight labour markets, followed by rising benefit cots (44%) and organisation restructuring (38%) as top influences in driving their benefit strategy.

“Amid the ongoing pandemic, employers are under increasing pressure to manage their benefit costs while at the same time finding new ways to support their employees’ overall wellbeing,” said Yen Bui, Head of Health & Benefits, Vietnam, Willis Towers Watson. “Additionally, tight labor markets and the pivot to remote working or a hybrid work model, and cost increasing are causing employers to look at their benefit strategies in a new light. As a result, many are now planning actions to enhance their benefit programmes to create a competitive advantage.”

In Vietnam, only 44% of the employers believe their benefit programmes address the individual needs of their workforce, and 48% offers significant flexibility and choice in benefits. Furthermore, only half of those surveyed said they currently offer competitive benefits overall, and one-third considered their core benefits (health care including some aspects of wellbeing) to be better than other employers’ benefits.

Growing emphasis on integrating employee wellbeing due to concerns on employees’ stress, burnout and mental health issues

Two-thirds of employers in Vietnam also said integrating employee wellbeing into the benefit package will be the top strategic benefit objective for their organisations over the next two years. Slightly over two-thirds employers (68%) cited employee physical wellbeing as their top priority over the next two years, followed by emotional wellbeing (60%) and financial wellbeing (48%).

“Our research reveals that employees who are physically thriving, financially secure, emotionally balanced, and socially connected are more engaged and productive. However, due to the pandemic, stress and mental health issues have increased significantly among the employees, and these have become a major concern for organisations. As a result, focusing on wellbeing programmes and moving to a more holistic approach, including enhancing their health care benefits, have become one of the strategic priorities of employers in the next two years,” added Yen Bui.

A recent wellbeing study conducted by Willis Towers Watson shows that organisations in Asia are taking steps to support employees’ health and wellbeing in four main areas:

  • Physical: 40% plan to promote the use of mobile application to help their employees strengthen their physical wellbeing and 38% offer lifestyle risk management programmes.
  • Emotional: 48% intend to measure the stress level of the workforce and other leading causes of it and 44% plan to look for opportunities to build employee resilience.
  • Financial: One third (33%) set and track specific metrics and objectives for use in financial wellbeing programmes at pivotal financial decision points.
  • Social: One third (31%) plan to include wellbeing as part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility strategy, and 30% plan to incorporate inclusion and diversity priorities in their benefit programme design.

Most employers are also considering the use of technology to address health and wellbeing. These include the use of online or virtual medical services, and those to aid mental or behavioural health, as well as wellbeing apps. Close to half of the survey respondents (45%) in Vietnam are considering managers training to identify and assist employees with their wellbeing.

The survey also revealed 35% of organisations in Vietnam believe their benefit programmes enhance employee appreciation of the employment deal, and many are taking steps to boost support and communication. Nearly half (48%) are planning or considering the use of digital tools and technology to help employees feel connected and be productive; two in five are planning or considering the use of personalised communication to specific segments of the workforce.

“Enhancing the employee experience is also one of the key focus areas of employers in the next two years. Digitalisation therefore becomes an inevitable trend in most of employers’ benefits modernisation strategies. It also demonstrates the organisations’ commitment to meeting the diverse needs of their workforce and providing a differentiated employee value proposition that will help towards reducing turnover, improving engagement levels and increasing productivity of their employees,” said Yen Bui.

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 a total of 3,642 employers globally, including 186 organisations in Vietnam with 144,000 employees.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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