Three quarters (75%) of companies do not offer specific employee benefits to different demographics of staff, according to research from Towergate Health & Protection. This is despite 61% of companies stating they receive requests from staff for demographic wellbeing support, such as by gender or age.
By not targeting health and wellbeing support by their staff demographic, employers are in danger of their employee benefits not being relevant, and therefore being undervalued and underutilised. In turn, the benefits will then not assist the company in terms of support for recruitment, retention, productivity, and absence.
Employers fear it’s too complicated
A significant reason for employers not targeting employee benefits according to employee demographics is that this is seen as too complicated to achieve, stated by nearly half (48%) of employers. Although they did also state that the company would like to be able to offer benefits in this way.
Looking at the demographics of the workforce, and offering health and wellbeing support accordingly, allows employers to ensure the benefits they offer are focussed and most likely to be of most value.
Offering health and wellbeing support by employee demographic does not have to be overly complex. For instance, considering risk and need – such as by age and gender – can help direct which benefits would be most relevant, such as support for fitness, fertility, menopause, or heart health.
Debra Clark, head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “While everyone is different, there are definite patterns surrounding demographic profiles, which can help employers to offer the right benefits at the right time. Age and gender demographics are a starting point. There is then a sliding scale of more in-depth analysis of the likely requirements of each individual.”
The research shows that only a quarter (25%) of employers target benefits to specific groups based on age, lifestyle, and risk factors. Offering health and wellbeing support by risk factor involves considering the risk of an individual developing certain health conditions, such as diabetes. This can play a significant role in deciding on the most relevant preventative and supportive measures to introduce. This approach requires a questionnaire or medical to assess who is at greater risk of certain conditions. The employer may then choose to offer appropriate lifestyle advice and support or, to take an additional step and offer screening to certain employees, or indeed access to support and treatment.
Towergate’s research found that the most likely option for risk profiling is for employees to complete a questionnaire on their risk of serious illness, offered by over a third (36%) of companies. Questionnaires on weight and fitness are carried out by 27% of companies. The more in-depth option of a medical assessment of risk of serious illness is offered by 26% of companies.
Debra Clark, says: “The more targeted health and wellbeing support is, the more it will benefit the individual and, therefore, the company with a greater return on investment. Making support more specific to the individual makes employee benefits more highly valued, utilised and cost effective, as the money is spent where it will have the most impact.”