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BW Businessworld

Employers Spend Less On Benefits, Shows Research

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Indian companies are seeing a major gap between the amount of money they spend on employee benefits and the value they get from them, according to research by Towers Watson & Co, an American global professional services firm. Its principal lines of business are risk management and human resource consulting.
As per the research, 33 per cent Indian employers said they spend more than 20 per cent of payroll on benefits. However, despite the material spend on benefits, only 18 per cent employers think they are highly valued by employees. Worryingly, 17 per cent employers in India didn’t know how much they are spending on benefits.
Fifty two per cent of Indian companies said attracting and retaining talent has become a key priority for them. And, that they have started seeing employee benefits as an important differentiator in the Employee Value Proposition, says Anuradha Sriram, director – benefits, Towers Watson India.
From all the employee benefits, 55 per cent Indian employers spend more than a quarter of their benefits spend on health-related benefits, the research showed. 
A total of 1,145 organisations across 20 countries in Asia Pacific, including 100 from India, participated in the Towers Watson’s 2015 Asia Pacific Benefit Trends survey.
Sriram said, “Not knowing how much you spend on benefits is alarming and fraught with risk. This could definitely result in low employee awareness and appreciation of benefits provided. A successful and effective benefits programme must be aligned to employee needs, communicated clearly and delivered seamlessly for it to be truly appreciated and valued by employees.”
On the issue of communicating benefits to their employees versus those who do not, the ratio was 4:1.
The research said that introducing more flexibility into the benefits programme is one way that Indian employers were looking to address the benefits value gap. Highlighting this trend, almost one-third (30 per cent) are looking at increasing flexibility over the next 12 months, whilst a similar number (31 per cent) are planning to introduce flexible benefits, it said.