Can HR keep pace with employee expectations? 

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) needs to be an ever-evolving tool if employers are to keep pace with changing employee expectations.

“No one does a job just to get paid, because salaries can be easily matched,” observed Drini Zerka, Head of Benefits Strategy, Mercer Marsh Benefits, during our latest panel discussion on the future of benefits.

Our latest research report into the new and evolving Employee Value Proposition shows that: 


of employees want a clear career path


want a company culture that avoids burnout

“The research also shows employees want help to be more sustainable and that this and use of digital technology and meeting environmental targets is driving transformation. What will this mean for benefits?” asked Nick McMenemy, Partner and Digital, Strategy & Markets Leader at Mercer Marsh Benefits.

“There is now a clear recognition that business need to do more when it comes to being sustainable, not just from a legislative perspective, but also because of pressure from employees,” said Drini. “From a benefits perspective that could mean having environment champions, dedicated days to talk about sustainability, cycling and sustainable travel policies and ethical investment options.”

“Car salary sacrifice schemes can also be made into a green allowance by repositioning these so employees can build a garden office or put solar panels on their roof,” added Drini. “We’ve seen employers say: Here’s a pot for something sustainable, get what you need, we’ll reimburse you.”

It’s important that the benefit isn’t just viewed as cash observed Drini, “The purpose should be to align objectives, such as supporting sustainability, with what employees want. This means employee listening is also a critical part of the strategy. Too many businesses focus on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, not why they’re doing it.”

He adds, “Instead of just having a long list of benefits, each benefit should serve a purpose and support employees with things that are relevant to them at that point in time. For example, demand for access to private care and online GPs is increasing due to NHS delays.”

Monique Wright, Client Director at Mercer Marsh Benefits says it’s important to take stock of who you employ and what they’re using. “You might have multiple sources of data, so we can take that and put it through a dashboard to give a really detailed picture of what types of individuals are using what types of benefits. Then you can dissect your existing benefits to look at what issues you’re helping employees with and where the gaps are, to optimise spend and make people feel more engaged.”

For employers that have never had a strategic approach, or want to shift from providing traditional core benefits, such as life insurance and pensions, towards more personal arrangements, the panel suggested this doesn’t have to happen overnight.

Instead of just having a long list of benefits, each benefit should serve a purpose and support employees with things that are relevant to them.
“Your starting point can be as simple as understanding and redirecting existing spend. Think of a scenario you want to achieve such as ‘we want to be in line with, or leading, the market’” suggests Drini. “Then you can build a three-year roadmap to achieve that, starting with things that can be done straight away, at the next enrolment then after that the more complex areas which may include employee consultation. No two business are the same, so no two roadmaps should be the same.”

The panel also agreed on the need for the EVP to support diversity. “1 in 7 UK employees is neurodivergent,” said Monique, “But job advertisements can be very vague, when if they were more specific someone who is neurodivergent would feel more comfortable applying.”

Monique added, “The recruitment process is the first opportunity for an employee to engage with the company, so it’s important it supports your EDI policies. By communicating the experience people will have of working for you, you can help to attract new candidates.”

A good EVP also needs to consider how best to support the physical, emotional, social and financial wellbeing of employees. “65% of employees want their line manager to care about them and we know that a top benefit is considered to be wellbeing support,” said Nick.

“Previously, financial support meant paying a good salary, having a good pension plan and gym discount. Now this is also about debt, short and long term savings support and mortgage education. Wellbeing initiatives have also evolved to include preventative care options and mental wellness,” said Drini. “It’s not surprising that the employee value proposition needs to be an ever-evolving tool. Employers need to provide a differentiated and relevant experience to stay current.”

If you have any questions about the strategies and solutions discussed, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also watch the full webinar recording here.

Nick McMenemy

- Partner, Digital, Strategy & Markets Leader, UK, Mercer Marsh Benefits

Drini Zerka

, Benefits Strategy Consulting Leader

Monique Wright

, Client Director

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