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Tailoring benefits for a new generation

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How should local companies cater their benefits to meet the different needs of a highly diverse workforce?

This was one of the questions addressed during a panel discussion at Benefits Asia 2013, which looked into how companies can match employees’ needs with flexible benefits.

Hans Han, head of C&B APAC at Huntsman, estimates only about 20% of companies today offered flexible benefits, but expects the number to increase as more employees are starting to “understand how it works”.

Phan Yoke Fei, group head of HR at Auric Pacific Group, said benefits should cater to the different generations in a company, and focus on offerings such as work-life balance, which is a benefit not only relevant to Gen Ys.

However, he added when it comes to the implementation of such benefits, they have to be tailored to the different performance and functions of employees.

It is also important to have a “holistic perspective” when thinking of how to cater to the different demographics, Han said.

In order to do so, companies can hold discussions with management and focus groups with employees for a better understanding for what the company can and should offer, as well as how to best manage expectations.

He added having a third party assist in gaining insight and “having statistics and data to support” the implementation process.

Also present on the panel was Khor Ling Ling, deputy director of performance and rewards at Changi General Hospital, who touched on the complexity of implementing benefits in the medical sector.

She said the hospital does not provide flexible hours, but rather, they offer “many different working hours” due to their shortage in workers.

Recruiting temporary staff or interns would help manage the shortage as they “come with a lot of energy,” and also help save on costs.

Looking into the future, Phan expects there would be a “fair balance between the young and matured generation”.

Hence, it would be crucial to cater the employees working beyond the retirement age, by taking care of things such as their medical needs.

For live updates from Benefits Asia, follow the #BenefitsAsia conversation on Twitter @Mag_HR.

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