New research by Thomsons Online Benefits finds that employers who meet employee wellness needs through benefits programs have a competitive advantage.


SAN FRANCISCO - 7 November, 2017

Research from Thomsons Online Benefits reveals that an alarming 64% of American workers believe that their employer and workplace are having a negative or very negative impact on their wellbeing. In response, forward-thinking global organizations are moving away from traditional reward strategies to create the best possible experiences for employees that enrich their lives and positively impact their wellbeing.

Outside of salary and retirement plans, employees feel that it would be significant for employers to support broader financial needs such as saving to buy a home and debt management. Over half of US employees aspire to buy a house, but less than one in twenty benefits programs specifically cater to this life goal.

Workplace wellbeing initiatives are also crucial for increasing employee satisfaction, as work-life balance was identified as the biggest priority for American workers after saving for retirement. In addition, 63% of Americans say that one of their current life goals is to get fit and healthy, but only 30% feel supported by their companies in achieving this via the benefits program. The Thomsons’ Global Employee Benefits Watch 2017/18 research found that those organizations with a long-standing, transformational approach to benefits are 60% more likely to have employee wellbeing initiatives in place.

Multiple factors are driving companies to re-position their benefits strategies to focus on employee wellbeing and enabling them to care for their families and save for the future. These include health threats such as the rising obesity epidemic, with more than 1 in 3 American adults identified as obese, and American workers taking a week less of vacation time since 2000.

The research from the SaaS provider of global benefits and employee engagement software found that employers are four times more likely to be effective in attracting and retaining their talent if they have a global benefits strategy in place. This increase in effectiveness is due to these organizations deploying global benefits best practice over several years, such as having a benefits strategy aligned to the people strategy, having automated HR processes, communicating benefits through digital channels, and having access to global data through benefits analytics.

The few HR teams that adopted global benefits technology early on are now able to draw on the data generated to create an accurate picture of their workforce, enabling them to segment employees and deliver the highly-personalized benefits programs that enhance employee experience and wellbeing. This gives them a clear advantage when differentiating their employee offering and engaging their people – who now prioritize a higher quality of life over salary.

“Global economies are becoming more service driven, and this evolution is driving fundamental shifts in the employer, employee relationship,” said Chris Bruce, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Thomsons Online Benefits. “Employees are looking for an employer who will make their day to day lives better and that relies on HR departments spending more time on transformational activities that focus on culture, engagement and employer brand. They will only be able to do this when they are automating and digitizing more processes.”

In the latest research from Bersin by Deloitte, organizations channelling their time towards creating a flexible and empowering workplace experience are five times more effective at improving employee engagement and retention than their peers.

 “Hope is not a strategy; those organizations that do not have a global approach to benefits underpinned by analytics now risk being left behind, while their contemporaries, who were bold enough to ride the first digitalization wave, find themselves ahead,” comments Matthew Gregson, Senior Vice President of Data and Analytics. “Those businesses with a successful technology-enabled benefits strategy in place are at a huge advantage as they will have amassed the employee data and analytics capabilities to create and communicate the schemes their employees really want and build incredible employee experiences.”

Thomsons’ research found that having an online benefits platform increases the chance of employers being able to measure every aspect of their benefits programs by more than double. Those organizations with analytics capability are:

  • twice as likely to effectively budget and predict global costs
  • twice as likely to be offering the benefits employees want and
  • 95% more likely to be offering benefits that impact and drive strategic business objectives
  • nearly three times more likely to see a reduction in admin errors and
  • twice as likely to see a reduction in overcharges and an increase in operational efficiency

For more information, download Global Employee Benefits Watch 2017/18 here