Employers are increasing their investment in benefits technology platforms to support employees’ health and financial wellbeing through the cost-of-living crisis, new research has revealed.
A study by Buck and the Reward and Employee Benefits Association found that nearly one in two (47%) UK organisations are taking this course of action as NHS waiting lists also cause concerns.
The report further discovered that three in 10 (31%) of employers intend to expand their investment in global benefits, while more than one in four (26%) plan to increase expenditure in pensions and workplace savings.
John Deacon, head of employee benefits at Gallagher company Buck, said: “The rising cost of living in the UK has affected everyone and dominated press headlines. CPIH inflation has exceeded the government’s target of 2% every month since May 2021, hitting highs of close to 10% last year; its impact can’t be ignored.
“Employers have to address this and are often simply unable to offer pay rises in pace with inflation, so it’s no surprise to see that many businesses are looking for alternative ways to invest in the financial wellbeing of their employees. The same is true when it comes to health and wellbeing, and many employers are focusing on making their reward offerings fit for purpose, so that they can attract and retain the best talent in a tight labour market.”
In its exploration into how reward and benefits systems are developing, the research showed 56% of businesses are expecting to change their benefits platform within the next two years, with financial and health and wellbeing platforms being the areas employers are prioritising for change.
Most (60%) of organisations polled intend to spend more on benefits technologies in the next two years, with 16% saying their investment in this area will increase significantly. A total of 45% of respondents also plan to introduce new total reward statement technology, or change their existing system, indicating that employers are keen to raise awareness of their value among the workforce.
Deacon added: “Advances in automation and new uses for emerging technology such as AI, have driven big changes in the way that these reward programmes can be implemented and run. Cutting down on extra admin is driving efficiencies in the sector and allowing employers to deliver a more intuitive and engaging offering. There are serious challenges facing the UK’s workforce, but investing in their underlying benefits technology is a cost-effective way for businesses to begin to address these challenges, while also future-proofing their reward offerings.”