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The fourth annual Aon Hewitt Benefits and Trends Survey asked a range of professionals in HR across all sectors a number of questions relating to employee benefits. The four key areas of the survey were defined-contribution pensions, health and risk benefits, flexible benefits and communications.
It seems that the key finding of the survey when it comes to pensions is the auto-enrolment of employees, with preparation for this the key objective for most employers. Given the broad media coverage over the last twelve months or so surrounding pensions, it should come as no surprise that pension-scheme participation has grown over the last year — significantly so, in fact. Figures relating to the awareness of participation in a defined-contribution pension have also grown significantly.
Flexible Benefits Programmes
These programmes continue to be widely offered by employers and provide high levels of satisfaction, continuing the trend from recent years. The biggest uptake in flexible benefits has been observed in larger organisations, with around 50% of the larger employers surveyed having these schemes. In this area, Flex is widely seen as best practice and is very prevalent. It is not just within the larger organisations that Flex has grown. In fact, it has grown across all segments included in the survey. The actual uptake figure for Flex in larger organisations is 44%, although 23% who don’t already offer these benefits are planning to implement it within the next three years. Flex is also growing rapidly among companies with fewer than 500 employees, with forecasters believing that this trend shows no signs of stopping. .
Communications Under the Microscope
It has been acknowledged that communications with employees are a very important part of the day-to-day running of any organisation. Despite this, one in five organisations surveyed do not issue personalised communications in any form to their employees.
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Organisations wish to know how well their investments in employee health have worked. Many are expressing a desire to measure and improve the return on this form of investment. Most employers, however, have very little confidence that they actually possess sufficient concrete data to analyse in order to formulate a conclusion in this respect. Employers are also seemingly reluctant to engage with ‘value-added’ services that can be offered by insurers. These services are a way in which premiums can be reduced for companies, and could be an easy way for employers to reduce their spend in this area. In a sense, employers seem to be aware that they are missing out on the opportunity to limit both risk and costs in this respect, but have little desire to do anything to change the situation and make a positive impact on this front.