Employees in Singapore are less satisfied with their benefits package than employers might think, according to new research from Willis Towers Watson (WTW).

Its 2017 Asia Pacific Benefit Trends Survey found that 45 per cent of employees surveyed felt their benefits met their needs, compared to 63 per cent of employers who believed they were highly valued by staff.

Employers need to approach benefits more strategically, suggested WTW. To do this, they need to put a greater focus on cost management and measurement.

The survey also revealed that 35 per cent of Singaporean businesses don’t know what they are spending on benefits, while more than a quarter (26 per cent), spend 20 per cent or more of their total payroll cost on benefits.

“These findings are worrying, as these companies will likely mismanage their budgets if they don’t reassess their package offerings, particularly as the industry expects the cost of medical benefits to rise over the next three years,” read the report. WTW said it recommended organisations evaluate their current packages on a regular basis.

Both employers and employees were in agreement on the inclusion of healthcare benefits that enable staff to manage their own health, as part of a total reward package, but employees are demanding greater choice, which they feel is something that is currently lacking.

“At a time when workplaces are expected to be more flexible, we still see a majority of Singaporean organisations failing to offer their employees diversity, choice and flexibility with their benefits. One size certainly does not fit all,” said Audrey Tan, head of health & benefits, Singapore at Willis Towers Watson.

“While only one in three employees receives this currently, staff who receive greater diversity and choice report higher satisfaction. This finding is particularly crucial for organisations, as it highlights the clear opportunities for how employers can improve employee satisfaction, engagement, retention and attraction.”

While employees may currently feel that choice is lacking, Tan said an increasing number of organisations are looking to expand their offerings over the next five years, with options including behavioural or emotional health management initiatives, activity-based programmes, lifestyle risk and chronic disease management programmes and financial wellbeing.

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