In a recent study conducted by Towergate Health & Protection, it was discovered that a staggering 75 percent of companies do not provide targeted employee benefits based on demographics.
This revelation comes in stark contrast to the fact that 61 percent of these same companies acknowledge receiving requests from their staff for such tailored support, particularly in areas like gender or age-specific wellbeing initiatives.
Despite the apparent demand, a significant barrier identified by nearly half (48%) of employers is the perceived complexity of tailoring benefits according to demographics.
Interestingly, these same employers express a desire to offer benefits in this manner, recognising the potential impact on employee satisfaction, recruitment, retention, productivity, and absenteeism.
Debra Clark, the Head of Wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, emphasizes that understanding employee demographics is crucial for delivering benefits that are relevant and valuable. She states, “While everyone is different, there are definite patterns surrounding demographic profiles, which can help employers to offer the right benefits at the right time.”
Aligning potential is key
The study highlights the untapped potential in aligning health and wellbeing support with demographic factors. This need not be an overly complex endeavour; considering factors like age and gender allows employers to tailor benefits more effectively.
For instance, benefits related to fitness, fertility, menopause, or heart health can be directed based on risk and need.
Despite this, the research indicates that only a quarter (25%) of employers currently target benefits according to specific groups based on age, lifestyle, and risk factors. The concept of risk profiling, which involves assessing an individual’s risk of developing certain health conditions, is embraced by a mere 36 percent of companies. This approach enables employers to provide tailored preventative measures and support based on employees’ health risks.
Towergate’s findings reveal that 27 percent of companies conduct questionnaires on weight and fitness, while 26 percent offer a more in-depth medical assessment of the risk of serious illness. Debra Clark underscores the importance of targeted health and wellbeing support, stating, “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.”
The research suggests that a gap exists between the expressed needs of employees for demographic-specific benefits and the current offerings of the majority of companies. As the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, understanding and addressing these needs could be the key to unlocking enhanced employee satisfaction and overall organisational success.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.