New research from Sodexo Engage, the leading expert in employee engagement, shows the loyalty of younger employees is strongly tied to the level of support they receive from their employers.
The report, titled “The Mountain of Lost Benefits: Closing the Expectation Gap”, found that 53% of employees aged 18 to 34 feel more loyal towards their employer if they feel supported at work. In addition, nearly half (46%) of employees within this age group believe that their organisations could play a more active role in alleviating the financial burdens associated with the ever-rising cost of living.
However, only 18% of them are currently leveraging their benefits to help maximise their salary. This indicates a clear expectation among young employees for their employers to provide assistance in navigating financial challenges, as well as a lack of understanding of how to effectively use benefits to stretch their salaries.
The survey conducted by Sodexo Engage also revealed notable differences in how benefits are used among different age groups, genders, and industries.
Male Employees Making Fuller Use of Benefits Than Female Colleagues
The research showed that male employees are making fuller use of their benefits. Notably, male employees displayed a higher preference for health-related benefits, with 25% using occupational sick leave and 17% making use of private medical insurance.
The report also found a disparity between men and women, with only 9% of women making full use of their benefits compared to 15% of men. Ultimately, though, the research revealed only 11% of all employees are making full use of their benefits highlighting a clear lack of HR-to-employee communication across all demographics, leading to a majority of employees being unaware of the opportunities available to them.
Lack of Understanding About Benefits a Problem for All Age Groups
The research highlights distinct preferences for workplace benefits among different age groups. Older employees, particularly those aged 65 and above, stand out as more likely to fully utilise their benefits and rewards, with 16% of this group taking advantage of them, specifically occupational sick pay (33%), retail discounts and cashback (19%) and private medical care (19%).
In contrast, younger employees aged 18 to 24 showed a clear preference for retail discounts or cashback benefits, with 38% utilising these perks compared to the 27% average across all age groups. They also showed an inclination towards gym memberships, with 15% of them utilising this benefit compared to the overall average of 6%. Employees aged 25 to 34 displayed heightened interest in financial wellbeing benefits, with 28% utilising them compared to only 10% of those aged 55 to 64.
The research findings revealed a concerning lack of understanding regarding the available benefits across all age groups. Specifically, 22% of respondents aged 18 to 34, 26% of those aged 35 to 54, and 36% aged over 55 are unsure about the benefits offered by their organisations.
Education Staff Missing Out on Financial Wellbeing Benefits
The education industry showcased a poor utilisation rate, with only 13% of employee respondents taking advantage of retail discounts or cashback benefits, compared to an average of 23%. Furthermore, a scarce 4% of education staff utilised financial wellbeing benefits, significantly lower than the average of 9%.
In the healthcare industry, the survey identified a strong preference for subsidised food and drink in the workplace, with 20% of healthcare employee respondents selecting this benefit as most financially beneficial compared to the industry average of 14%.
Overall, retail discounts or cashback benefits emerged as one of the most widely utilised across all industries, with 23% of employee respondents taking advantage of this offering. Notably, the retail industry stood out with 62% of employees using retail discounts or cashback benefits.
The research highlights two primary factors contributing to the accumulation of lost benefits: poor access and communication.
Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage, comments, “As organisations navigate a challenging financial climate where not all can afford salary raises, employee benefits take centre stage. However, it’s concerning to see that many employees are not fully utilising their benefits due to a lack of knowledge or misinformation, especially among younger individuals who appear to have a concerning lack of understanding.”
Mackenzie continues, “To tackle this issue, it’s crucial to meaningfully engage all employees, ensuring the delivery of more relevant benefits that truly matter to them. By bridging the benefits awareness gap, we can support our workforce and create a thriving environment where employees feel valued and empowered.”