The past, present, and future of Employee Benefits & Rewards

Explore the future of benefits with personalization, digitalization, transparency, and AI.

It’s a fast-changing world and that’s the case for benefits and rewards as well.

With 150 people in the audience, a keynote presentation, multiple panels, and break-out sessions, our REWARD event was a success. Some important insights were shared that day. So whether you were there and would like to get a refresher or weren’t in the audience but would love to get some valuable insights, we have three blogs lined up for you.

In this blog, we will discuss what our first panel of the day with Samantha Figueroa (, Frank van der Leeden (Adyen) and Lucas Sondelski (Personio) had to say on the state of benefits and how it may look in the future.

The biggest changes in benefits & reward

The panel discussed the most significant developments of the reward field in the last 10 years, including: an increased focus on mental health, the office as a social place, the traditional benefits package, and equity.

Focus on mental health

Mental health now seems to be an essential part of the benefits package. It’s not only top of mind in society, but it’s a broader issue overall. It has much more of a presence within businesses and it’s something that companies are focusing on more and more. ​​Previously, only boutique or start-up vendors were offering mental health programs and services. Now, many healthcare companies and larger vendors offer comprehensive mental health programs. In addition, fertility related benefits have been on the rise in the past 10 years especially in the US, but also in Europe.

The office as a place for experiences

In the post-pandemic era, the office is seen much more as a place for employees to connect, collaborate and socialize with each other. Now that many companies have implemented a hybrid-work policy, which means that not everyone is required to be at the office every day, it’s also time to rethink benefits and focus on what works in a hybrid setting.

Benefits have become broader

Twenty, even ten years ago the expectations were mainly focused on insurance and pension.That was the standard package which people got from their employer. Now benefits are perceived as everything that the company offers to the employee, from lunch benefits, to local discounts and hybrid work arrangements. As a result, it’s become less clear of what a benefit actually is. That can be challenging, as they need to be visible to employees and people need to understand how they work.

Equity for everyone

Equity is now more often a part of the compensation package. It’s not just for management and C-suite anymore, but within many tech companies, it has been made available for many people at the company. You could say that in the last ten years, equity has become a more standard part of the general compensation package in European tech companies. The idea is that ownership over the company is important and it should be visible and accessible via easy-to-access platforms. That way, employees can always check in on their shares and know the exact value that they have been given.

What does the future have in store for us?

  • Personalization and flex benefits: How can we accommodate the different generations and how do we make sure people can customize their benefits for where they are in life? Companies may wonder what’s possible and what makes sense for their workforce.
  • Digitalization: People want to know what is available for them and how it works. How can we make it easier for employees to interact with their benefits? Would a benefits chatbot that you can ask to help you understand your benefits package be a possibility?
  • Transparency: Transparency around pay but also transparency around the value of all benefits. Hopefully, that leads to more understanding and appreciation on the employee's side.
  • Alternative work arrangement: The dynamics of hybrid work arrangements are still evolving and still need to be figured out. We know that the office is a place for connection and socializing, which is exactly what is needed to balance out the effects of remote working. Clear hybrid work arrangements and team agreements will help ensure that teams come together on a regular basis. That being said, benefits like commuting plans can also help make it easier for employees to come to the office.
  • Role of AI: AI will be a driving force. The question, however, remains what the exact role will be for employees and benefits. In general, AI has the potential to take over ‘number crunching. For compensation and benefits specifically, AI has a lot of potential in benchmarking as it’s a great tool for collecting data and connecting systems. We can use it to get better data faster, but it’s not fit to have it do our job. For the future, the question remains how AI can actually help our employees and if we can make benefits more personal through AI.



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