HR and benefits professionals need three things to help them weather the next few years, according to respondents to the Employee Benefits/Lorica 100 Club research 2014 and the five attendees at the Employee Benefits/Lorica 100 Club thinktank debate hosted in April.
The industry stalwarts are members of Employee Benefits’ Hot 100 lists from 2012, 2013 and 2014 because of their contributions to Employee Benefits and the HR and benefits industry in the previous year.
Firstly, employers want staff to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. More than a quarter (28%) of 54 respondents to the research survey cited employees’ reluctance to take responsibility for their own health as one of the biggest challenges they face in managing staff health and wellbeing.
But employers have their work cut out. Almost half of respondents to this question (48%) cited employees’ lack of understanding about how to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing as a bigger challenge, so organisations clearly need to consider how to provide workplace information to address this issue.
This will not come as much of a surprise to the 82% of employers who feel they should take some responsibility for plugging the service gap created by the decline of the National Health Service.
Employers also want staff to understand exactly what they need to do to build an adequate pension fund for their retirement, but they acknowledge the challenge of engaging their workforce, particularly employees in their twenties with other financial responsibilities, such as repaying student debt.
For example, roundtable attendees expressed concern about the government’s mixed messages around saving for retirement. For example, they believe the government’s attempt to encourage staff to save through pensions auto-enrolment is being undermined by its decision to reduce the lifetime limit for tax-free pension savings. It reduced the limit from £1.5 million to £1.25 million on 6 April 2014, exacerbating employers’ challenge in engaging employees in pensions.
Accordingly, roundtable attendees recognised the increasing need for HR and benefits professionals to unite in their efforts to support their workforces and champion the industry in the process. The Employee Benefits 100 Club is perfectly positioned to help them do so.
Clare Bettelley is associate editor of Employee Benefits