Customized Benefits Key to Employee Retention and Increased Productivity

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MetLife’s 2017 “UAE Employee Benefit Trends Study” reveals that while UAE employers struggle to retain talent and raise productivity of their employees, employees are looking to shift jobs for better benefits.

Employees in the UAE are increasingly willing to pay for “customized benefits” according to new research by Met life.

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According to the study, 82% of surveyed said that providing a range of voluntary benefits by the employer is important.

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George Dimitriou, Head of Employee Benefits for Metlife Middle East & Africa, joined Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast radio show to look at some surprising results from the study and share some insights on the changing trends in benefits for the UAE workforce.

“Everybody has the mandatory medical insurance in UAE. However, there is more pressure on companies to provide more than just the basic insurance. But, employers these days have cost limitations even though they want the best for the employees.”

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Most firms today are downsizing their head count as the economy is drastically slowing down. Employers are starting to strike a balance between minimizing cost while at the same time maximizing engagement and productivity of employees.

A whopping 59% of employees surveyed hope to be working for a different employer over the next few years, which is up 38 percent compared to 2014 figures. They would rather shift to other employers who offer more benefits and wellness programs than their current employers.

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Further, employers must also recognize the difference in the workforce. Baby boomers have different needs and now employees have to change the palette of benefits they are offering.

“Another key point is the improvements in benefit communication between the employees and employers in terms of top employers offering benefits. Employees don’t understand benefit like medical insurance. Only 28% have received information on insurance access, cash claims, documents that needs to be submitted for cash claims etc.”, commented George.

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The study also says that miscommunication of benefits will reduce the ability of the benefit program to deliver its expected advantages to employers. Employers need to pay special attention to educating their employees about the benefits that are available to them.

Employees are also increasingly interested in tailored and optional benefits offered by the employers. According to George, the needs of the 40 aged man is different from the from that of 25 year old women. Therefore, employers must take into consideration the differentiation of needs and cater accordingly. Employers that do a good job of getting employees to appreciate and access their benefits see greater positive effects in terms of efficiency and productivity.

Delivering flexible, customized benefits at the workplace now seems to be a must-have among most firms in the greater employee appreciation of benefits, which is highly correlated with employee engagement and productivity.

In the UAE, it’s steady at a 12% increase in those metrics for every point higher on valuing benefits.

Even after the introduction of mandatory health insurance, employees are looking for greater job and financial security; they are also looking for new career opportunities, higher salaries and more valuable benefits. Thus, employees today look for other parameters including salary, stability, job security and cohesive working environment. Employees must focus on retaining talent at the same time increasing productivity by offering personalized benefits irrespective of cost limitations.

Conclusions of 2017 Employee Benefit Trends Study

– The study suggests that despite a labor market that seems to be favoring employers, it has never been more important to create a supportive, coherent and flexible approach to a rounded employee value proposition.

– Insurance, pensions, perks, working conditions, culture, physical well-being, mental health and now financial wellness are all crucial facets of employee engagement that employers can nurture — not merely because it is ‘the right thing to do,’ but because recruiting and retaining the best talent and driving up productivity are well served by these steps.

– UAE is on the brink of a big change in optional and customizable benefits. Increasingly diverse employee needs, greater ability to gather and analyze health and wellness data, and a desire to manage costs without compromising on the ability of a benefits program to differentiate the employer, is becoming important.

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