In Singapore, the primary benefit strategy challenges employers expect to face over the next three years are rising benefit costs (73%) and the differing wants and needs of a multi-generational workforce (66%), according to the company’s latest 2019/2020 Benefit Trends Survey.
In addition, 46% of the respondents cited lack of employee engagement with their benefit programs as a primary challenge, survey results indicate.
With a dramatic increase in the number of people aged over 60 years old remaining in employment, today’s workforce comprises of up to five generations – from baby boomers through to the youngest, Gen Z, said Cedric Luah, Managing Director, head of Health & Benefits for Asia and Australasia at Willis Towers Watson.
“Each generation has differing requirements and expectations, as well as how they like to receive or consume benefits,” he noted. “This calls for a flexible approach to benefit strategies that reflects the needs of all employees, maximizes inclusivity and engagement, while ensuring the employee population feels valued.”
While controlling costs remains their top challenge, employers are increasingly focused on a broader benefit strategy that goes beyond their core health and retirement offerings, Luah pointed out.
In addition to the traditional emphasis on plan design and cost management, companies are now looking for ways to better connect with employees to meet the benefit needs of a diverse workforce and get the most value for their benefit spend, he added.
Survey highlight: Priorities of employers in Singapore
Two-thirds of employers in Singapore cited aligning benefit provisions with employee wants and needs as their highest priority, followed by incorporating employee wellbeing into their benefit strategy.
- Align benefits provisions with market norms and employee wants and needs: 69%
- Incorporate wellbeing into overall benefit strategy: 62%
- Enhance work policies: 57%
- Incorporate inclusion & diversity into benefits programmes design: 56%
Wellbeing becomes more important
Employers in Singapore are also now expanding their focus to address emotional, financial and social wellbeing, other than the physical wellbeing, said WTW.
- identifying and managing behavioural health stress and issues to maintain stability of mind and body of employees across the workforce;
- identifying and implementing solutions to improve the financial health of the workforce; and
- identifying and implementing ways to promote a sense of involvement around health and financial issues
Two in five employers are also looking to add or enhance chronic disease management and mental health programmes in their organizations.
“Younger generations generally respond more to wellbeing and lifestyle benefits such as gym memberships and flexible work arrangements. On the other hand, older employees may be more concerned about stress and resilience management programs, and costs of healthcare especially with Singaporeans staying longer in the workforce,” said Audrey Tan, Head of Health & Benefits for Singapore, Willis Towers Watson.