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Health support as the most important benefit for employees

Developing hobbies, education or family life – benefits in these areas played an important role but before the outbreak of the war, high inflation and COVID-19. Currently, these needs have receded into the background. Employees who are struggling with rising cost of living and remember the experiences of the pandemic say directly that the role of employee benefits should be primarily to support their health (47%) and personal finance (44%) – according to a survey by Personnel Service. The company’s experts point out that when meeting basic needs is threatened, thinking about development or education recedes into the background.

Diverse people with insurance protection plan

“Already at the beginning of the pandemic, we quickly began to observe how the carefully built system of employee benefits began to shake in its foundations. No one needed fruit Thursdays in the home office and sports cards for closed gyms lost their meaning. Companies noticed this change and began to introduce extensive medical care packages and psychological support. The war and inflation have changed the needs of employees even more because they made employees realise that in addition to healthcare, they also want benefits that will reduce their rising cost of living. Hence, a fuel card or free meals at work are now much more useful than a sports card”, says Krzysztof Inglot, Labour Market Expert, Founder of Personnel Service S.A.

Finance more important than development

The survey by Personnel Service shows that in the opinion of almost half of employees (47%), the most important role of benefits is health support. This is a consequence of the pandemic, which made everyone aware of the importance of easy access to healthcare, which is offered by private medical care cards. Support for personal finance was placed second by 44% of respondents, which again is the aftermath of the inflation that we all face. More expensive shopping or commuting means that benefits which can reduce these costs are gaining in importance. In the opinion of 35% of employees, the most important role of benefits is to improve the well-being and comfort of work. This aspect, despite the popularisation of remote work, is still high on the list of needs, which also shows that home office is still something additional, not a standard, and applies to the minority of employees.

Support for the development and education of employees was outside the podium of the most important roles of benefits – this aspect was indicated by 29% of respondents. It is worth recalling here the results of the recent “Polish Labour Market Barometer” by Personnel Service, which showed that employees who experienced the pandemic and are aware of dynamic changes on the labour market want to improve their competences. This was indicated by 44% of respondents. These are mainly young people (67% of responses in the age group of 18-24 vs. 22% in the age group of 55 and over). Only every third employee does not intend to get additional education and training.

Every fifth employee, when asked about benefits, indicates that their role should be the support of family life. Interestingly, developing hobbies and supporting free time are not popular among employees and the minority of them indicate that they count on company benefits in this regard
(14% and 17%, respectively). It will not come as a surprise that mainly people aged 25-34 count on the support of family life. As many as 27% of them indicate that this is the most important role of benefits compared to 16% of people aged over 55 or 21% of people aged 18-24.

“In Maslov’s hierarchy of needs, the key to satisfying higher needs is the feeling that the basic needs are satisfied in the first place. We can see this now with benefits. Previously, employees had space to think about their development and hobbies and now, they care most about protecting their health and reducing the high cost of living. This, of course, does not mean that companies should now withdraw all programmes supporting employee education or development of hobbies but employees say directly that this is not their priority now and they prefer to take care of it themselves, and they count on the company to support their health and their personal finance”, sums up Krzysztof Inglot from Personnel Service.

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