What does Covid-19 mean for employee benefits?

Join the CHRO Webinar in which Sanlam Corporate will reveal the results of its 2020 research around employers, retirement funds and professional consultants.

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the landscape of employee benefits. HR professionals need objective, research-based insights to make sense of the situation, and to help navigate their retirement fund members and employees through the rising tide of financial uncertainty. 

CHRO South Africa will be hosting a webinar on Friday 10 July 2020, in which Sanlam will reveal the results of its 2020 research around employers, retirement funds and professional consultants to give attendees insights around the benchmarks for employee benefits in the current crisis. 

Sanlam Corporate managing executive Viresh Maharaj will present the findings of the research, which will provide a sense of what people within the employee benefits space should be thinking about. 

Sanlam Corporate managing executive for human capital Dr Matete Lerutla will explain how companies should humanise employee benefits in this time when people are dealing with a variety of stresses. Over and above being worried about their health and that of their loved ones, she says employees are concerned about the potential loss of income. With a number of employees working from home, personal lives and work is being integrated and hence a more humanistic approach to employee benefits overall. 

“With all the challenges in mind, we foresee that people will struggle to balance their immediate needs with the importance of investing for the future. This is especially the case in companies like ours where the majority of the workforce is made up of millennials, GenY's and GenX's,” says Matete.

“Research has told us that only 10 percent of the workforce retires comfortably. But if people have been investing and saving for the entire duration of their careers, how is it that only 10 percent of people retire comfortably. And if that is the case right now, what will that figure be in 30-to-40 years' time when GenX's and GenY's retire, given that they have had to contend with Covid-19?”

Matete believes the industry has an opportunity in the employee benefits space to start customising solutions to ensure that it provides options for every category of demographic and individual circumstance. 

Employee benefits service providers also need to allow for more flexibility for clients to defer or suspend contributions for a short while when they are facing financial difficulty. 

Says Matete: “We have to figure out how we adapt to the changing times to ensure the financial sustainability of our clients. We have a responsibility to build a holistically enabled and financially resilient workforce.