Top employee-benefit trends in 2019

Employee experience will be paramount and central. Employee voice will take centre stage.

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‘For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.’ – T.S. Eliot

Changing demographics, digital disrupters and technological innovations have become the norm at modern workplaces. The rapidly-transforming business landscapes have brought to the forefront the importance of employee benefits and the huge role played by them in attracting and retaining the right talent. While 2018 has been a year of the rapidly-evolving workspace, 2019 will be critical for organisations who wish to offer the best to their people. So, for those of you wanting to stay on top of the game, here’s a look at the top trends in employee benefits and their impact on employee experience.

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• The transformation of HR and its metamorphosis into the digital avatar in organisations is going to be highly significant. As the traditional role of HR undergoes the inevitable digital makeover, digitally-driven benefit solutions and mobile-based apps will dominate.

Seamless integration of benefit solutions within the organisation’s systems, backed by ease of operations and minimal procedural formalities will create the ultimate employee experience for both the employee and the employer.

Flexible, tailored benefits will be the norm. The one-size-fits-all employee-benefit package will become redundant. To attract, engage and retain the best at workplaces, organisations will look to personalisation of benefits to suit the individual’s needs. Flexible benefits, with state-of-the art technology will be the most sought after.

Artificial intelligence will dominate. Organisations will switch to automation of benefits and their processes, such as ordering cards, implementing tech solutions at the workplace or even digitising reimbursements, as they seek efficiency and ease of operations with real-time actionable insights.

AI – data mining, predictive analysis and machine learning tools will be vital in providing the groundwork for designing of #NewAgeEmployeeBenefits smart app-based solutions will come handy for employees for their daily needs.

Design thinking, and innovation will be the key. Employee benefits will be designed to best address the changing needs of the diverse, multigenerational workforce, while balancing their aspirations and lifestyles with organisation goals. Benefits will move beyond just holidays, health and retirement plans, to employee-driven benefits. Programmes covering emotional and financial well-being, sponsored learning and development courses, employee-assistance programmes, and so on are some new-age benefits that are rapidly growing popular.

Transparency and communication will become sacrosanct, in a sense. The demographically diverse workforce will necessitate greater clarity and a more pro-active approach in the way benefits are designed and delivered for maximum engagement.

Constant support and connectivity will be sought. While benefits and solutions will be digitally driven, the availability of support, online and/or human, 24/7, will acquire greater significance in this age of instant gratification and total connectivity.

Employee experience will be paramount and central. The contemporary scenario at workplaces is such that while financial benefits still rule, the expectations of the staff are no longer limited to the monetary aspects. Workplace environment, culture, diversity, inclusivity, and gender relationships matter as much. With business organisations’ continued focus on employee engagement and employee benefits as the main differentiator in their strategies to attract, engage and retain talent, 2019 will be a year for innovative, tech-driven and structured employee-benefit solutions. Employee ‘voice’ and conversations between workforce and organisations will take centre stage, as talents pursue work–life balance. Employee benefits can and will tilt the balance.

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Suvodeep Das is the Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Sodexo BRS India. He has top-tier Marketing & business experience of over 20 years and leads marketing, communication, new solution development & sales in his current role. Prior to this, he has worked in leadership positions of marketing & product management in global companies, such as Western Union, Unilever & Ogilvy along with large Indian companies, such as Reliance & Marico. He joined Sodexo from an American startup called Greenlight Planet, where he led global marketing & product development. He holds an MBA degree in marketing, and was featured amongst the “Young Marketers of the Year” in Brand Equity (Economic Times) in 2005. He was also among the top 50 Fintech leaders in Asia, in 2016. Suvodeep is an avid follower of Formula 1 and football and loves to travel.

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