Convergys/RDS Benefits Study 2009

1.0       Executive Summary

The aim of this benefits study is to see how companies during this period of business turbulence can “give more for less”.

For the company, more for less means getting more value per dollar spent on benefits — in terms of improved employees’ satisfaction, work practices and hopefully better retention of staff.

For the employee, more for less means a range of benefits better tailored to his or her needs and wants.

For this study, Convergys in conjunction with RDS surveyed 217 companies in May 2009 on their benefits strategies, costs and management.

This report summarises the key findings and highlights areas of interest that companies may find useful when reviewing and enhancing their benefits plans. It also assesses the trends that will shape the benefits of the future – benefits that are better balanced to meet both company and employee needs.

Benefits are almost as important as cash

For most companies, benefits are ranked almost as important as cash as part of their total reward strategy. More companies now realise that benefits can influence employee-goodwill, motivation and hence productivity, more are thus paying more attention to these rewards in kind.

A strong benefits package sets the company apart from the competition, particularly true in times of economic uncertainty. Unfortunately, some companies – especially those with fixed benefit plans – do not do a good job of communicating the value and importance of this investment to employees. Here lies the complexity which if often underestimated and which calls for more professional attention that some companies may not be able to provide in-house.

Many companies could review and administer their benefit plans more systematically to extract more value, choices and even, possibly, some savings.

The importance of clear understanding and individual choice and selection of specific benefits cannot be over-stated – it helps boost the company’s credibility and employees’ sense of security. Currently, not many companies communicate or measure the success of their plans systematically. Given the relaxed manner that most plans are currently managed, many companies would do well to review their benefit plans to extract more value, choices and customisation and even, possibly, some savings, while ensuring employees are fully aware and appreciative of what is on offer.

Greater emphasis on wellness and prevention as well as employee choice

Work-life balance, healthy and productive work practices will dominate the benefits landscape as companies become increasingly more concerned with productivity and employees with wellness and family issues.

Companies will continue to balance getting more value with cost containment while employees desire more choice and coverage. Also, as employees are increasingly picking jobs based on quality of work-life balance, companies need to provide more flexible working options and family-friendly policies.

Current benefits provided are generally comprehensive and with costs being far from onerous, many companies – even during this difficult period – are looking to introducing new flexi-benefits or enhancing their offerings.