7 in 10 companies eye benefit package overhaul amid pandemic

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
7 in 10 companies eye benefit package overhaul amid pandemic
In a local survey conducted by insurance broker Willis Towers Watson, employers in the country were looking to make themselves enticing for a tight labor market in the country that witnessed the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Seven in 10 employers in the Philippines are eyeing to revamp their benefits package for employees to attract top talent and give emphasis on employees’ well-being, especially their mental health.

Results of a May-June survey of 154 local companies by insurance broker Willis Towers Watson showed 76% of employers are planning to “differentiate and customize” their benefit programs over the next two years.

This is because only 50% of employers believe their benefit programs address the individual needs of their workforce, which have grown amid the coronavirus onslaught. Meanwhile, only 32% said they offer significant flexibility and choice in benefits.

Broken down, 67% of companies polled cited “tight labor markets” as the main reason for rethinking their benefit strategy, while 57% said the growing popularity of remote working amid the pandemic prompted them to consider such changes. Other reasons given by employers for enhancing their benefits program are advances in technology (56%) and increased focus on inclusion and diversity (56%).

“Amid the ongoing pandemic, employers are under increasing pressure to manage their benefit costs while at the same time finding new ways to support their employees’ overall wellbeing,” Susan La Chica, director at Willis, said.

If anything, the pandemic spotlighted the need for employers to address mental health issues of employees, as millions of workers around the world join the Great Resignation. At home, Willis’ survey found that 80% of companies want to integrate employees' well-being into benefit packages over the next two years, with 86% planning to prioritize workers’ emotional health.

Specifically, the poll said 61% of firms plan to measure the stress level of the workforce and other leading causes of it, while 55% intend to assess policies and procedures to tackle mental health emergencies in the workplace. Most employers are also considering the use of technology to address health concerns of employees, including the use of virtual medical services.

“Employees’ stress, burnout and mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic continue to be the main workforce concern of employers. Fostering employee wellbeing and resilience, therefore remain a top employer priority for the foreseeable future,” Dr. Demosthenes Villarin Jr., medical director at Willis, said.

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