Trends in employee benefits - Event recap
On a chilly January evening, Octopus Electric Vehicles hosted an event deep-diving into employee benefits trends and what to expect in 2024. We want to pass everything we learnt onto you and share our key take-aways.
Employees are key to business success so employee benefits packages are becoming more and more important in encouraging strong work cultures, keeping high retention rates and attracting new talent. Through employee benefits, businesses can offer their team perks which support them in every aspect of life. From financially supporting tools, to help living more sustainably.
Our expert speakers looked to understand the trends to expect in 2024 along with discussing what employers should be doing for employees. The evening consisted of the following talks:
- Keynote: Mobilising Environmental Change -
- Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles
- Panel discussion: Benefit trends for 2024 - How can we build the most impactful benefits package?
- Carl Chapman, Head of Marketplace, Ben
- Philip Curtis, CEO, Avantus
- Leonard Birnie, Head of Employee Benefits, Azets
- Hermione Taylor, CEO, Do Nation
- Fireside chat: What should employers do for their employees?
- Andy Stephenson, Chief People Officer, Equiniti
- Ben Thurstan, Senior Reward Partner, Aldermore
Keynote: Mobilising Environmental Change
We all know that global warming is affecting us all, with 2023 being the hottest year on record. Not only does the heating climate have detrimental effects on our health and climate but it’s going to impact our future generations most.That doesn’t mean it’s a future problem, however. More than 60% of the population is worried about climate change, with only 5% feeling prepared for the impacts of climate change.
One by one, we can help the fight against climate change with business leaders and employers being mobilisers of change. 55% of employees say that their company has a key role in tackling climate change whilst only 34% could explain their companies' commitments to the climate - a worrying statistic when we know this should be at the forefront. Overall, 71% of employees say it’s important to their wellbeing that they’re taking action on climate change at work. So why aren’t we supporting this?
There are two clear areas businesses can make the change:
Transport - With a quarter of all UK emissions in 2022 it continues to be the largest emitting sector of CO2. Bottom line - we need to make travel green.
Pensions - A green pension is 21x more powerful than going veggie or even giving up flying. Make sure your company has a green pension to make a real impact.
Panel discussion: Benefit trends for 2024 - How can we build the most impactful benefits package?
Sustainability is here to stay
It’s no surprise that environmental and sustainable benefits are here to stay as employees want benefits that reflect their moral values. 8/10 people want to act on climate change within their jobs and be a positive change. And if you want to attract and retain the best talent, you’re going to have to offer sustainable benefits. It’s not all about salary anymore and ESG is a big swing for the younger population.
Your business has its own ESG goals, but it’s important you’re hitting the 3 main scopes to meet your net zero targets; direct emissions, emissions linked to supply chain and indirect emissions. More regulations are coming into place that make sure businesses, like yours, are hitting all their emissions targets. Indirect emissions, like your employees travelling to work, is the biggest player and can be massively reduced by a range of employee benefits. Anything from an EV salary sacrifice scheme to a green pension can help you hit your Scope 3 emissions goals.
Offer more choice
Our work population and office culture have changed massively in the last 10 years and our benefits packages need to reflect this. One size doesn’t fit all and employees want a varied range offered by their employer so they can take advantage of what suits them best. But with so many benefit options out there, how do you know which ones to pick for your team?
Ask your workforce what benefits they want
Before you offer a variety of benefits, you need to figure out which ones to offer. Use surveys and wellbeing groups to find out what your team really want. Make employees feel valued by taking on board this feedback and acting on their suggestions.
Give access to good benefits
So you’ve got a wide range of awesome benefits but you need your team to access them. Take advantage of a benefits portal/platform to give your employees easy access to their benefits package. Benefits are only good if they’re known, accessible and promoted.
At Octopus EV, we help promote our salary sacrifice scheme with your company which loads of other benefits providers do too. This can really help engagement with the benefit.
Low cost but high reward
We are all feeling the squeeze at the moment, even businesses, so increasing salaries may not be an option when looking for ways to show your team you care. Cost-effective/free benefits create attractive benefits packages that not only save the business money but also the employee. One of our panellists, Phil Curtis (CEO of Avantus), gave a great example where his daughter is looking at more than just the salary for potential new jobs - salaries are not a defining factor for the new generation of workers.
Present day problems reflected in your packages
Something else to bear in mind when looking at benefit options is what your employees want right now? In 2023, private medical insurance was hugely popular due to longer NHS waiting times. So it’s all about keeping up with the times. Financial support, ESG focused and mental wellbeing benefits are all on the rise to support your teams.
Fireside chat: What should employers do for their employees?
What are some key initiatives to consider offering to create a complete benefits package?
Setting it up - conduct research
First, it’s important to know what your employees want. Conduct employee listening so you can create a benefit package driven by employee feedback. Once you have a good understanding of their needs/wants it’s important to offer the same benefits to all your employees and not ringfence premium packages for more senior employees. Everyone can benefit from car allowances, private medical insurance and an enhanced pensions package.
Creating a hardship fund that’s open to anyone who reaches out, to pay household bills or travel to work can be a great way to help your employees through a tough financial time.
Mental and physical wellbeing
Increasing holiday allowance can be a great way to support the wellbeing of your team. Employees can have more time to themselves or with family and it can also help work culture move away from the ‘badge of honour’ mentality to not take holidays. Mental and physical wellbeing can also be supported with benefits like Mental Health First Aid training, access to Headspace, walking challenges and creating relaxing spaces within the workplace.
Make sure your team get the most out of their benefits
It’s great to have these benefit packages in place but it’s just as important to make sure your employees take advantage of them. Getting senior leadership buy-in and making sure whatever you offer is better than what your team can get on the high street are both great ways to get the most out of your benefits package.
Your benefits package needs to be compelling and seamless. Anything overly complicated is not going to improve your employee's lives.
- Be honest with your employees. Tell them what’s in it for them and listen when they provide feedback.
- Give them information on how things work. Mock-up sample payslips to show salary sacrifice products in place (i.e. pensions, electric vehicles etc.)
- Commit to 3 superstar benefits. Ask your employees and the ones that are a hit, make them happen.
- Employees need to feel that they work with their employers, not for them.
Obviously, pensions aren’t our thing, but sustainable transport is where we really shine. Our salary sacrifice employee benefit helps your employees transition to an EV at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional leasing. Plus, we offer the full package; car, charger, energy, maintenance, servicing, insurance etc.
Having an EV, for just a year, helps save up to 2.7 tonnes of carbon which is 1350 trees. We’ve already helped over 4,000 businesses and over 800,000 employees make the switch so it’s clear the massive impact switching to sustainable transport can have. The rest of the Octopus Group can help with other bits to make your business more sustainable too. Green energy for your office? Sorted.
It’s time to give employees what they want. An employee benefit that’s kind to the planet and their pockets with Octopus EV’s salary sacrifice scheme.
So, what can we summarise from the event? Well, to create the most impactful benefits package for 2024 check out our top 5 takeaways:
- Research is key.
- Understand what your employees want before delivering a package.
- Offer a wide range of benefits
- With a diverse workforce, comes the need for a varied employee benefits package.
- Environmental benefits are on the rise
- Employees look to their employers for support when trying to make their lives greener.
- Give the correct access
- A good benefits package is only as good as its accessibility.
- Keep your benefit package up to date
- Whether it be healthcare access or financial wellbeing; understanding current problems, helps build an attractive benefit scheme.