Majority of Singaporean employers (63 percent) believed that their staff highly value their workplace benefits. However, only less than half of employees (45 percent) agreed that they meet their needs, according to a new survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson released on Wednesday (Nov 15).
Regarding to these findings, Willis Towers Watson suggested that organisations in Singapore need to rethink their benefits package offered to employees. As an effort to address a serious disconnect on the perceived value of these packages, employers need to better manage the rising payroll cost. Additionally, in order to meet employee needs better, as well as enhance employee retention and engagement, Singaporean employers need to approach benefits more strategically. Organisations must put a greater focus on costs management and measurement.
The 2017 Willis Towers Watson Asia Pacific Benefit Trends Survey found that 35 percent employers in Singapore do not understand their spending on benefits, while more than a quarter (26 percent) spend 20 percent or more of their payroll on employee benefits. These figures are worrying, because company will be likely to mishandle their budgets if they fail to reassess their package offerings. The case could get worse, as the industry expects to see rising cost of medical benefits over the next three years.
The study also noted that employers are not offering what employees actually want. According to the survey, majority of employers (89 percent) and employees (72 percent) agree that benefits package should include healthcare benefits that enable the staff to manage their own health. However, employees are also demanding for more diversity and choice regarding to the benefits, which is currently lacking or missing.
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Head of Health & Benefits Willis Towers Watson Singapore, Audrey Tan said, “At a time when workplaces are expected to be more flexible, we still see a majority of Singaporean organisations failing to offer their employees diversity, choice and flexibility with their benefits. One size certainly does not fit all.”
She added that one in three employees who receive greater diversity and choice reported higher satisfaction towards their workplace. Such finding is crucial for organisations, as it highlights clear opportunities for how employers can improve employee satisfaction, engagement, retention, and attraction. However, she said that it is encouraging to see that more firms in Singapore are working to expand the diversity in their offerings in the next three years.
Majority of companies in Singapore (86 percent) are looking to evaluate and measure the success and effectiveness of their programs in the next three years. The survey noted that organisations plan to do this by using medical claim data and benchmarking information to notify decisions or changes, financial and nonfinancial metrics to measure the impact; and sharing health and well-being program performance metrics with the C-suite, senior management, or as a corporate reported metric on a regular basis.
Among the non-traditional well-being benefits packages that employers are looking to integrate are activity-based programmes (21 percent), behavioural or emotional health management initiatives (23 percent), lifestyle risk and chronic disease management programmes (18 percent respectively), as well as financial well-being (10 percent).
Given that more Singaporean organisations are planning to change their offerings and approach to benefits packages, Mrs Tan emphasised that they also have to reconsider the costs.
“One way organisations can overcome this is by measuring the effectiveness of their health programs by evaluating them on a regular basis. To do this, companies need to design an ecosystem around data, where they collect, analyse and share results to measure effectiveness, and in turn, their employees’ view of the value of the benefits offerings,” she added.
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