How to attract and retain talent with employee benefits

Offering flexible and varied benefits will improve inclusivity and meet the disparate needs of employees, says Howden's Primus Lee.
By: | April 24, 2023

As the world of work continues to evolve and employees redefine priorities, the paradigm of employee benefits has inexorably shifted.

As a result, what used to work may no longer be effective, as Primus Lee, Executive Director and Head of Employee Benefits, Howden, pointed out, “Staff retention strategies in the new normal have evolved immensely. Beyond competitive compensation, there are many ways that employee benefits can help improve staff satisfaction and retention.”

Speaking with HRM Magazine Asia, Primus highlighted how an increasing number of organisations in Singapore and Asia are turning their focus on mental health, and for good reason.

He explained, “In the past few years, employees have faced a lot of pressure with the changes to the workplace, including transiting to working from home and now having to return to the office.”

“With mental health becoming less of a taboo topic in Singapore and Asia, organisations who offer benefits that take care of employees’ mental health stand out from the crowd.”

These, Primus elaborated, could be in the form of extending medical benefits to cover mental health services, proactively providing mental health services to employees, or offering mental health stipends or reimbursements to encourage employees to take care of their mental health.

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“With today’s highly segmented workplaces, employees have disparate needs and offering flexible and varied benefits will improve inclusivity.”Primus Lee, Executive Director and Head of Employee Benefits, Howden

When employees are happy and healthy, satisfaction rises and organisations benefit by retaining their best talent. Besides prioritising employees’ mental health, organisations can do more to offer a more holistic employee benefits package characterised by flexibility and inclusivity.

Primus said, “With today’s highly segmented workplaces, employees have disparate needs and offering flexible and varied benefits will improve inclusivity. Instead of offering standard coverage, why not provide options and flexibility for employees? Allowing employees to select what matters most to them will bring greater satisfaction and increase inclusion and belongingness.”

Flexible work among key trends shaping employee benefits in Singapore

As the world of work evolves, the conversation around how the future of work will be shaped has continued apace.

To help HR professionals in Singapore better understand the trends shaping the design of employee benefits packages that organisations can offer to attract and retain talent, Howden recently released the Future of Work Trends Shaping Employee Benefits in Singapore guidebook.

One key trend Howden identified, is work flexibility, as Primus described, “Demand for remote and hybrid work is so commonplace now that employees will consider leaving workplaces that do not offer flexibility. Flexible work is here to stay and the keyword here is flexible, so it’s not just about working from home, as there will be employees who prefer working onsite or a hybrid arrangement.”

“Employee benefits need to take care of both employees working remotely and those working onsite. These could be reimbursements or allowances for home office set ups, and in-office perks for those who work in the office.”

Other trends identified by Howden include fairness and equity, holistic wellbeing, skills-based talent, as well as digitalisation and technology, which can all impact employee benefits. “Any organisation that understands and harnesses these trends will be one step ahead in the talent game,” Primus added.

Delivering healthcare benefits at employees’ fingertips

With digitalisation and technology increasingly playing a key role in the employee benefits space, more organisations are deploying digital HR solutions to improve employee experience and satisfaction.

To enjoy a digital experience that takes away the stress and hassle of delivering healthcare benefits to employees, many organisations are turning to Howden MediHub, a full-service, tech-enabled, medical insurance programme designed to make life easier for employees and HR teams.

Primus highlighted, “The programme is delivered through our intuitive MediHub mobile app, which provides employees with everything they need to manage their claims, access panel clinics and telemedicine services, and more.”

Additionally, MediHub reduces the administrative burden for HR by taking care of all claim enquiries and document collection. Claims data analytics allows HR to forensically analyse how employees are using their benefits and employee benefits specialists from Howden also suggest ways to reduce claims to make sure the organisation is not paying more than they should be.

This attention to detail, said Primus, is at the core of Howden’s strategy in designing and delivering attractive and sustainable employee benefits programmes for a wide range of public and private organisations in Singapore.

“We don’t just compare prices. We help organisations achieve their long-term objectives while taking care of their risks by thoroughly reviewing developing risks and applying appropriate methods of risk transfers,” Primus concluded.

To find out more about employee benefits from Howden, visit booth 6 at  HR Tech Festival Asia 2023, which is taking place from May 10-11.