Creating A Better Workplace Brazil

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MetLife Employee Benefit Trends

Creating A Better Workplace

Address the unmet needs of a multi-generational workforce

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Catering to employees’ diverse needs with benefits

As growth strengthens in Brazil, businesses will need to look harder at using benefits to create workplaces capable of meeting employees’ needs.

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Creating A Better Workplace

While motivating workers and driving productivity continue to be key priorities for employers, the 2018 Employee Benefit Trends Study (EBTS) also shows that there is a real appetite among employers in Brazil to build better workplaces — ones that cater to their employees’ diverse needs through an optimized benefits strategy.

But this might be challenging. Our research shows that employees are less satisfied with their workplace — and their benefits — than many employers would like to think. In fact, the number of employees telling us they are satisfied with their job and benefits has fallen considerably since we last conducted the study in 2013.

Second, talent retention continues to be a key issue: over one-third of employers in Brazil today, compared to only one-fourth of employers in 2013, say they expect to face a shortage of experienced workers in the next 12 months. Employers are increasingly aware of this trend and have shown more drive than previous years to improve the workplace

How important are each of the following employee benefits objectives according to employers?
Retaining the skills and talent that we need
81%
93%
Increasing employee job satisfaction
89%
99%
Addressing more of the diverse needs of the employees
69%
91%
Helping employees make better financial decisions
58%
89%
2013
2017

Global Employee Benefit Trends Study 2018

Balanced living: the holistic employee

Financial insecurity hurts the workplace

Wellness: a big opportunity

Balanced living: the holistic employee

Our data suggests that only 35% of employees in Brazil say their employers make it possible to balance work and life. The competitive edge goes to employers who turn this around with benefits that address the wider needs of their employees and, where possible, allow them to tailor their benefits to their own situation.

The result? More engagement, better productivity and lower recruitment costs — as well as a key weapon in the war for talent within Brazil, regionally and globally. Many employers (76%) said that hiring the skills and talent that they need is a top-three challenge.

Percentage of employers in 2013 that said they expect a shortage of talent in the next 12 months

25%

Percentage of employers in 2017 that said they expect a shortage of talent in the next 12 months

37%

While salaries and promotions are often used to motivate employees to stay at their company, employees agree that improved life quality (38%) and flexible working conditions (30%) would increase their loyalty to the company. 

Flexibility is key to promoting work-life balance. Employers can help their employees manage their work-life balance by shifting toward more formalized flexible working conditions. Making these policies part of a benefits package increases their use, too, encouraging employees to manage their own life in ways that ensure they are delivering at work. If these flexible options are deployed carefully as part of an integrated benefits platform, they could increase engagement and productivity at little or no cost. Fortunately, employers in Brazil remain more motivated to deliver balance as compared to regional peers.

Employers who agree that providing balance in employees’ work and personal lives is a key mission for their benefits program*

Brazil
98%
Brazil
90%
Brazil
94%
Chile
82%
Chile
82%
Chile
84%
Mexico
89%
Mexico
89%
Mexico
84%
Large Company
Medium company
Small company

When employee benefits are tailored to life needs, not only do employees show greater appreciation for their employer, but they also appreciate the value of their benefits more, feeling more financially secure.

It starts with a clearer understanding of the needs of employees. Only then can employers decide what should form a core part of the benefits offering and what tailored options will work. Our data indicates that there is a growing appetite among employers in Brazil to offer voluntary benefits.

“Regardless of life stage, there is an appetite among employees for flexible benefits (even with co-payment) rather than cash to purchase cover independently.”

Financial insecurity hurts the workplace

Since we last conducted our study in Brazil, we have seen how employees’ financial concerns are having an increasing impact in the workplace. 37% of employees now agree they are spending more time thinking about personal finances at work than they should. No wonder 82% of employers in Brazil now tell us that providing financial planning services is a very important goal for their benefits program.

Employers can create a more financially confident workplace by building employees’ sense of security beyond the paycheck. Positioning existing benefits as a means of offsetting employees’ financial worries around healthcare and retirement could have the added result of productivity gains for employers.

A majority of employees, especially in smaller companies, feel less in control of finances; and only a few are free of the financial stress they might face at a time of illness.

Many employees don’t feel in control

I feel in control of my finances
34%
I am confident that my savings will tide me over in case of illness or disability
28%
I feel in control of my finances
44%
I am confident that my savings will tide me over in case of illness or disability
38%
I feel in control of my finances
38%
I am confident that my savings will tide me over in case of illness or disability
31%
Small Company
Medium Company
Large Company

Employers have an opportunity to try new approaches to financial wellness. These include basic tools for budgeting and financial planning, online tools for managing savings and learning about their options, employee assistance plans, and more sophisticated savings benefits, including those for retirement.

The full range of financial wellness benefits will differ hugely between young parents, for example, and those nearing retirement. Communicating and explaining existing benefits, particularly enhancements to medical and life coverages as a means of addressing financial worry around healthcare and retirement, can also promote a sense of greater financial security.

Employees want more help with their financial security

I am interested in my employer providing me with tools to help me make decisions about my financial needs
46%
Over the next five years, I am worried about affording the benefits package that is right for me and my family
55%
I am interested in my employer providing me with tools to help me make decisions about my financial needs
53%
Over the next five years, I am worried about affording the benefits package that is right for me and my family
58%
I am interested in my employer providing me with tools to help me make decisions about my financial needs
62%
Over the next five years, I am worried about affording the benefits package that is right for me and my family
56%
Small Company
Medium Company
Large Company

Pensions remain relatively generous in Brazil and account for about a third of all government spending. Our study suggests that employees in Brazil are increasingly concerned about retirement and its financing, while employers seem much less prepared as compared to other markets, like Mexico and Chile.

Only 15% of companies in Brazil offer employees a savings scheme (it’s 85% in Mexico and 56% in Chile) and 24% have a pension plan (Mexico 78%; Chile 64%) — one of the lowest levels we’ve seen globally in all the EBTS conducted over the years.

“Only 28% of employers in Brazil feel a responsibility to help employees have enough money for retirement”

Consequently, many employees in Brazil remain far behind their savings goal. Only 5% of employees 50+ years old have achieved their savings goal. Similarly, many employees are not on track to reach their savings goal.

Wellness: a big opportunity

Brazil's state health system was negatively affected by the 2016 recession. Since then, through a combination of public policies and its Unified Health System, Brazil has significantly improved access to medical care for a majority of its population, but more can be done to eradicate health inequalities there.

The EBTS results confirm this idea. They show that a high proportion of employees in Brazil look to their employer to help maintain their wellness — and prevent them from having to access acute medical services. We found 92% of employees believe their company’s wellness program has had a positive health impact on them, whether or not they highly "valued" the specific options on offer.

Employers in Brazil support the idea of wellness. Many employers (82%) agree that they have a responsibility for employee health and wellness and even more (96%) agree that to encourage employees’ healthy behavior is an important goal. Participation in wellness programs may deliver higher levels of satisfaction, loyalty and productivity and meet employers’ goals in return.

Healthier workplaces increase retention. Employee participation in wellness programs may deliver higher levels of satisfaction, loyalty and productivity.
I am satisfied with the job I have now
67%
47%
I am loyal to my employer
74%
69%
I feel both physically and mentally able to do my job
80%
71%
Participants
Non-Participants

The ideal approach to wellness could be a comprehensive program that helps employees all along the health spectrum — from education and awareness, to prevention and screening, to behavioral change and, as necessary, health intervention.

Our study found that employers and employees rank emotional conditions like stress and depression in their top five health concerns. This suggests a shift in focus to encompass more mental and preventive types of programs.

Employees are not a homogenous group. While some wellness benefits cross generational boundaries — on-site clinics, for example — others suit different age groups. Prioritize programs that target employees’ needs.

Wellness programs of interest, according to employees

Employee assistance programs
24%
Annual medical examination and cancer screening
36%
Gym subsidies or sponsorship of employee sports
33%
Health management for serious and chronic illnesses
13%
Nutrition and weight loss programs
35%
Employee assistance programs
21%
Annual medical examination and cancer screening
40%
Gym subsidies or sponsorship of employee sports
35%
Health management for serious and chronic illnesses
17%
Nutrition and weight loss programs
29%
Employee assistance programs
24%
Annual medical examination and cancer screening
54%
Gym subsidies or sponsorship of employee sports
23%
Health management for serious and chronic illnesses
29%
Nutrition and weight loss programs
31%
18-30 years old
31-50 years old
50+ years old

Two important issues reported by employers are: (1) Controlling escalating healthcare costs (two-thirds of employers are challenged by increasing costs at their companies), and (2) Building a healthy and productive workforce.

Nearly 45% of companies cite illness as a key reason for absenteeism (one-third more than lack of commitment), and across company sizes, almost every employer told us that managing health benefits costs was a top priority.

These challenges build a case for wellness. Employers that tackle the causes of illness can reduce absenteeism, offsetting the cost of their wellness initiatives.

Health can be personal, so employers should look beyond general statistics. Benefits providers should be able to tailor data around claims with analytics that can help employers target their wellness activities. As many as 39% of employers use overall market awareness to evaluate the main employee health and wellness concerns. Relying solely on general market data can be misleading. 

Percentage of employers who use treated cases, company statistics, empiric appreciation or assistance revision to evaluate employee concerns

21%

Percentage of employers who use data analysis to evaluate the main employee health and wellness concerns

39%