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Employers are over-estimating how happy employees are at work and are risking not achieving the full value from their investment in employee benefits, research by MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

Nearly half (46%) of firms believe their company is a great place to work compared with just 31% of staff, data from MetLife’s UK Employee Benefits Trends Survey reveals. The report highlights how companies can address engagement issues and is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, having been conducted in the US for 12 years and at various times in 9 other countries. 

The authoritative study shows how highly employers rate recruitment and retention – 40% of UK companies say they will be affected by talent shortages over the next year with retaining and hiring talent key benefits challenges for employers with 41% and 37% respectively reporting these as concerns.

The recruitment and retention challenge is the gap between employer and employee views. 32% of employees say they are loyal to their employer while just 22% believe their employer is loyal to them. In contrast 39% of employers’ believe their employees are loyal and 40% believe they are loyal to employees.

The report revealed a major challenge with regard to employees’ energy levels, with just 14% of UK employees surveyed saying they are bursting with energy at work – a much lower score than other countries in the survey.

The study also examined employee loyalty, and found that in the UK just 10% of employees said they were thinking of changing jobs in the next 12 months.  Whilst on the surface this is encouraging for employers, this is less positive if employees are staying put but soldiering on.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director of MetLife UK, said: “There are significant differences between what employees and employers think which implies that employers are over-optimistic about the success of their employee benefits and engagement strategies.  

“The risk is that employers are wasting significant time and money acting on the wrong things. The challenge is as much how to engage existing employees as it is to recruit new ones. Employee benefits consultants can advise on the products which are valued by employees as well as, importantly, how to enhance communication with employees about their benefits.

“Our study highlights a range of insights and steps employers can take which do not need heavy investment. Listening to employees is key as, when we look at what employers believe works and what employees say they want, there are clear differences.”

MetLife’s study highlighted key areas for employers and employee benefit providers to address including support for employees around financial concerns including planning for retirement and in the event of people becoming unable to work through illness.

Other areas include practical and supportive wellness programmes, such as the Wellbeing Hub that is included in MetLife’s ProActive Protection product, to help tackle the issue of stress at work and engage employees through regular and frequent communications that can be tailored to employee needs.

MetLife is one of the fastest-growing life and pensions groups in the UK and its Employee Benefits division has offices in Brighton**. Employing around 150 people, it is the UK hub for the sales and administration of its employee benefits and individual protection businesses.   

KEY POINTS 

·        Nearly half of employers think their company is a great place to work compared with less than one in three employees

·        4 in 10 employers say they will be affected by talent shortages in the next 12 months

·        MetLife UK’s Employee Benefits Trends Study highlights insights for employers to improve recruitment and retention

 

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