5 top takeaways from our 2023 Evolution research
Every year, we survey employers and employees around the world to measure their perspectives and understand changing trends across reward, benefits, wellbeing, and the employee experience.
Our 2023 Evolution research surveyed more than 2000 global employees and employers to explore their evolving relationship – and how reward and benefits are adapting to changing employee needs. This year, to explore both sides in depth, we split the report into two edits: The Employee Edit and The Employer Edit.
Last month, myself and Benefex Chief Operating Officer, Michael Tigwell, ran a webinar where we shared our reflections on key findings from the report.
Here are my five top takeaways from the Evolution research
1. Employee expectations around wellbeing are accelerating
When we look back to our 2022 research, it’s clear that employees are increasingly looking to their employers for support across health and wellbeing, and their lives outside of work. Our 2023 research found that these trends are still prevalent. However, they are shifting and accelerating in certain areas, which is unsurprising given the pressures on employees today – from rising costs to socio-political instability. A commitment to employee wellbeing is the number one factor employees are looking for when choosing an employer; 64% of employees say this is very important to them.
2. Benefits are the key to delivering wellbeing
The research highlighted a renaissance for employee benefits, because of their value in supporting employee wellbeing. Employees and employers are recognising that every benefit an organisation provides is ultimately – either directly or indirectly – supporting employee wellbeing. The Evolution research revealed that employees are looking for holistic support across physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing (see the 5 types of benefits most important to employees).
The companies getting it right are focussing on benefits personalisation and flexibility, because wellbeing looks different for each individual; 43% of employers now offer employees a wellbeing allowance. For global organisations, wellbeing allowances provide consistency across regions and give employees greater freedom to spend on the things that matter most to their them.
3. Employers are chasing constantly increasing expectations
Perhaps more than anything, the message that rings out from the Evolution research is that employees want and expect more, across every aspect of their employee experience – from the benefits on offer and the way they are rewarded, through to the technology that serves them. And they believe employers should be doing more to understand these changing priorities.
Employers get it. In 2023 far fewer of them say the employee experience they provide is excellent (31%, down from 51% in 2021), because they recognise they’re struggling to keep up with the rising bar on expectations. The Evolution research highlights technology as a major area where reality isn’t keeping pace with employee expectations. In 2023, 70% of employees claim the technology they use at work lags behind the technology they use at home; up 10% on the previous year.
4. Employee expectations differ around the world
Although it’s clear that globally employee expectations have risen – with 52% saying their expectations of their benefits package have increased – there are nuances across regions. For example, in India this figure is 65% compared with 59% in the US, and 38% in the UK. This is partly reflective of the broad range of benefits typically available to employees in the UK and US, while the market in India is still developing. A strong EVP will be crucial to meeting global employee expectations, and this is something that several of our customers have done very well to enable their people to feel a part of that organisation.
5. Employers need to understand what really matters to employees
The research highlighted that employees believe their employers should be doing more to understand their changing priorities; 89% of employees believe that by better understanding what employees want from their experiences at work, organisations can better retain and motivate them.
Successfully communicating benefits and wellbeing support with employees will be key to fostering a sense of belonging and is especially important for global employers. Organisations that actively listen to their employees will be able to better align their benefits strategy with employee preferences, ensure communications are effective, and that employees understand their entitlements and eligibility. Focus groups are a great way to get that direct employee feedback and understand employee frustrations, as well as uncover huge opportunities for engagement.
Watch the Evolution webinar on-demand
In this on-demand webinar, we explore the latest findings from our 2023 Evolution research and share practical reflections on how Benefex customers are meeting evolving employee needs.