Source: Middle East insurance Review
Date: 17 July 2012
The number of GCC companies offering flexible benefits is on the increase as firms recognise that employees appreciate the right to choose from tailor-made packages that fit their individual needs, said global HR consulting firm Mercer in a survey.
The surveyís findings showed that between 2009 and 2011, the number of companies offering a flexible plan in the UAE has risen to 16% (from 9%). Elsewhere in the GCC, Qatar saw a rise to 15% (from 3%) and Saudi Arabia went up to 20% (from 3%).
Flexible benefits plans allow employees to choose from a menu of offerings, “buy upî from a core benefit to a more valuable one, or trade from one benefit to another, said Mercer. With advantages to both parties, employers benefit from being able to meet the diverse needs of their workforce and in turn increase employee satisfaction. This leads to higher levels of productivity, better manage and understand financial costs for benefits and being able to promote the company and brand as an attractive place for new recruits.
Mr Paul Beaton, Employee Benefits Consultant at Mercer, said: “While it is yet to be uncovered whether or not these are on par with fully fledged flexible benefit plans seen in Europe and the US, there is definitely positive growth in the direction of putting the right to choose – at least to some extent – in the hands of the employee.
“Well-designed flex plans have proven to be a key cost containment method when it comes to benefits. By assessing the needs of the dynamic employer, companies are in a position to better distribute their resources where they are needed, and will be appreciated more. They remain competitive in the marketplace, able to retain employees better and solicit employee engagement.”
In addition, Mercer expects that governments in the GCC and the wider Middle East will most likely pass greater legislation in the next few years, making it mandatory for companies to provide benefits for their employees. As it stands now, the UAE has been moving in this direction with its prerequisite government health insurance for all employees.