Are your employee benefits in the right era?

Latest trends tell us the world’s wider workforce has completely transformed its core values as we continue to live alongside the pandemic. Lifecare looks at what’s most important to your team in 2021, and how you could – and should – adjust your employee benefits offering.

If your company has been extending employees largely the same benefits package for the last ten, five, or even two years – you’re in danger of losing your most valuable asset.

A recent study by research and advisory firm Workplace Intelligence, and published by LinkedIn, found that 78% of workers described 2020 as “the most stressful year ever”, and confirmed that the pandemic had negatively affected their mental health. And with 76% of the same group also saying they feel their company should be doing more to support the mental health of its workforce, it makes sense that we are dealing with a radically different landscape when it comes to the employee benefits wish-list in 2021.

We’ve listed our top 3 employee benefit trends for 2021. Are you up to date?

Security over salary

Even before the pandemic struck, a growing number of employees were showing willingness to sacrifice higher pay in exchange for a better range of benefits. The 2019/20 Global Benefits Attitudes Study by HR consultancy Willis Towers Watson, polled 8,000 US workers and found that 37% of employees valued substantial benefits over their salary. In addition, 42% said they would sacrifice additional pay each month for a more expansive health benefit plan, which is a sharp increase from the 27% who said the same in 2013.

The Coronavirus has compounded our desire to stay safe, throughout the world and closer to home.  A recent study carried out by Aetna International and published by The National with 1,200 UAE workers participating confirmed that 76% of employees were calling for “more comprehensive coverage, with a greater focus on physical and mental health” in 2021.

Mental health support

In November 2020, the National Center for Health Statistics found that 36% of adults admitted to having anxiety disorder symptoms. Just one year earlier in 2019, this figure was given as 8%, representing a gigantic jump, pre- and post-pandemic. Medical insurance policies often exclude psychiatry, psychology and cognitive therapy, and so it is important for employers to revisit the schedule of benefits they are passing on, and realise just how critical this exclusion could be for their employees. They should also strengthen this internally, by ensuring their team has access to information, advice, services and discussion to support their mental health – all of which is provided as an integral part of the Lifecare Employee Assistance Programme.

First stop, telehealth

COVID-19 may have opened the door to telehealth, but convenience is what will keep it here. While fear of transmission was at the forefront of our minds throughout so much of 2020, our need to seek medical advice for ourselves and our families didn’t change.

Employers offering fast and effective online consultations with specially-selected doctors, as well as easy digital access to expert advice, medication delivery and even ‘online labs’ have proven their commitment to the wellbeing of their workforce in the face of adversity. They’ve also paved the way to reduced medical claims, and lower company premiums, as the general acceptance that telehealth consultations should be the first, trusted, port of call for non-emergencies will, and is, equating to significantly reduced expenses for insurance providers.

If you don’t offer telehealth in 2021, you need to know you’re falling short. In a study conducted by Omnia Health Insights within weeks of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 as a global pandemic, 95% of the UAE resident participants viewed telemedicine as a service that should be covered under their health insurance policy, and 82% said they would expect their employer to provide access to it.

Lifecare is the perfect partner to cultivate and continually reassure your employees with expertly curated access to the benefits we know they want the most.

To discuss the extensive range of complimentary options available to you as a CURA member, contact us today by clicking here.



Global Benefits Attitudes Study by HR consultancy Willis Towers Watson
National Center for Health Statistics
The National
Omnia Health Insights