Most employees want meaningful choice when it comes to workplace benefits but they do not want to be overwhelmed, a survey shows.
Willis Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found 57% of employees said they wanted a “moderate” number of benefits options, whereas 16% wanted a small number and 27% a large number of options.
The research found workers want their employer to actively guide their benefits choices through avenues such as education and communication and decision support tools.
Many older workers largely rely on the information provided by their employer, which they want to research independently at their leisure, whereas younger workers are more likely to seek guidance from friends, family and outside professionals.
When asked which workplace perks they would most favour, the global survey found financial wellbeing was the most popular option in Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America, whereas in Latin America perks supporting education were the most popular.
Overall, just over half (52%) of employees rated their current benefits satisfactory and as largely meeting their needs.
The survey also revealed that workers with financial and health issues have increased absences and instances of presenteeism, lower job engagement and higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
More than a third of employees globally are living paycheck to paycheck, using most or all of their monthly income for expenses with nothing left for savings, and around three in 10 said they have money troubles that are negatively impacting their life.
In the UK, 40% of employees said they are living payday to payday.
Richard Sweetman, UK financial wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson, said employers have an increasingly important role to play in helping employees to manage their finances by providing tools and access to suitable products and services.
He added that when employees are struggling with budgeting and other essential costs, it can put pressure on personal lives, which in turn can affect their performance at work and their mental and physical health.