Employee Benefits: A Changing Landscape

Employee Benefits

Warren Buffet once quoted “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”. The statement finds its true meaning when applied to employees and the benefits provided to them. As per MetLife’s 13th Annual U.S. Employee Benefits Trends Study, a correlation exists between the number of benefits offered by a company and the probability of employees endorsing the company as a great place to work.

The concept of employee benefits is not new in this buoyant economy where employers are now looking forward to their extended responsibility towards employees. They are not only bestowing employees with traditional benefits at workplace related to retirement, sickness, maternity, disability, pension fund, etc., but also coming up with newer ways to benefit them. As a result business houses are witnessing greater job satisfaction, performance, employee loyalty, work commitment, etc.

Towers Watson, a global professional service company conducted a survey and came to the conclusion that most companies are now feeling the need to review their benefit policy and update their employees about the same. They based this decision on the fact that 43 percent of companies felt that the employees were not satisfied with the existing benefits. Another 30 percent believed that lack of communication was a deterrent for employees who were often in the dark about the actual nature of the benefits and their usage.

Thus, the challenges faced by companies are not just to provide flexible and customized benefit plans for the employees but also to communicate the value created for them. Apart from traditional benefits, companies are also offering attractive benefit plans to retain and attract employees such as:

  • Paid holidays and sabbaticals
  • Counseling programs to tackle crises in personal and professional lives
  • Learning programs for employees’ children
  • Meditation and stress management workshops
  • Flexible work hours and work from home options
  • Discounts on company products and services
  • Adoption leave policy benefits for adopting a child
  • Leave encashment program and food coupons
  • Company car lease policy or cab service for employees
  • Health, group, and accident insurance

A growing number of employers are now providing employees with benefits that suit their needs and requirements. For an instance, at WIPRO- an India based IT company, employees have the freedom to choose their own combinations of flexible benefits and plan their taxes accordingly. They are also eligible for interest free loans and contingency loans under specific cases. Medical assistance and benefit programs for employees, spouse, and children, group accident insurance, paid holidays, maternity benefits with extended leave of absence and sabbaticals are some of the benefits provided by the company.

TCS, another Indian company, has come up with Adoption Leave Policy where both male and female employees are eligible for 3 months paid leave when they adopt a child. TCS benefits also involves part time or work from home facility, joining spouse overseas, holiday homes across the country, welfare trust for higher education, etc. Similarly, Microsoft also provides fully paid maternity disability leave for new mothers along with 12 weeks of parental leaves to both the parents.

More Indian companies are now moving away from “one size fits all” approach of benefits to more customized form of mechanism based on diverse needs of the workforce. This brings forth the need for proper planning, budget allocation and a holistic approach towards employee benefits.

Seeing this as the need of the hour, the educational sector has incorporated techniques and strategies for building a strong satisfied workforce. ITM University Online, one of the leading Online MBA institutions too provides specialized courses in various streams including Human Resource Management, where the students are equipped to get in-depth knowledge regarding talent acquisition, attrition prevention and a host of other aspects. The knowledge gained through these programs makes them better equipped to design and implement strategies for the mutual benefit of the employee, the employer and the organization as a whole.