Flexible benefits ‘becoming the norm’
Published on 20th August 2012 by Sarah Alexander
People Management reported this month that employers are increasingly seeking new ways of administering benefits amid concerns around auto enrolment of pensions.
Most larger UK employers now offer flexible benefit plans and many of those who do not are planning to introduce them soon, research has found.
The Aon Hewitt Benefits Administration survey found that 62 per cent of employers currently offer flexible benefits and a further 21 per cent say they plan to introduce them in future.
Outsourcing the administration of flex schemes is increasingly popular, with 60 per cent of respondents opting to do this. Most employers (85 per cent) are satisfied with the service they receive from their outsourced administrators; when asked for their main current concerns over benefits, employers cited cost and the forthcoming challenge of pensions auto-enrolment.
“Offering a flexible benefits plan has very much become the norm across a number of industries,” said Lorna Bradford, client director in flex administration at Aon Hewitt. “We frequently hear from employers that the tax efficiency, positive impact on employee engagement and ability to cater for diverse needs make flex plans increasingly attractive solutions. With ongoing concerns over cost and incoming challenges resulting from implementing pensions auto-enrolment, we can only see the popularity of flexible benefits plans continuing to rise.”
On auto-enrolment, she added: “Pensions can no longer be considered in isolation from other benefits but have to be looked at together with other parts of the package. Employers need administrators and systems that cope with all the different aspects of benefits, without the need to input data multiple times. Employers should also consider single, online portals that can be easily used by employees and which cover the entire range of benefits. This can help facilitate more consistent corporate branding of benefits and increases the potential for greater employee engagement and satisfaction.”