New trends emerge for non-cash benefits across Southeast Asia

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS: Flexible work arrangements were always going to increase in attractiveness for employees and, also increase productivity for their companies. The speed at which this has occurred has been hastened by - you guessed it - Covid-19.

Now, both employers and their workforce are aware of the benefits of providing these kinds of arrangements. Providing the ability to work from home is seen as a benefit that employees are very attracted to, with little to no extra cost for the employer.

Lusi Lubis, Ernst and Young's (EY) Indonesia People Advisory Services Leader and Partner (pictured, right), is effusive in her advocacy of flexible working, stating, "More Indonesian companies are moving towards a hybrid workplace". She goes on to state that "53% of (EY’s)) clients' employees believe the flexible workplace arrangement would increase the company's productivity."


Willis Towers Watson surveyed employees in several industries across Asia-Pacific and found that prior to 2020, only one in four of their workplaces had implemented a formal policy to manage alternative work arrangements. 18 months into the pandemic, and this number had naturally increased dramatically, with almost three-quarters of companies now offering hybrid working options, and many of the rest looking to adopt one.


While job function and health concerns are the most common criteria to determine eligibility for using alternative work arrangements, over one in three of Willis Towers Watson’s survey respondents said that all employees should be eligible to use them.


Non-cash benefits also continue to top compensation trends in Southeast Asia, and offering professional development opportunities, rewards for referrals, and company retreats are just a few of the ways HR professionals and recruiters can attract applicants and retain current staff.


In the current climate, losing qualified personnel in several in-demand industries is simply out of the question. Innovation in rewarding staff will ensure staff feel valued.


Summarising Mercer's 2022 Total Rewards Trends succinctly, Jukcchai Boonyawat, CEO for the consultancy in Thailand, implores company leaders to consider that people are still important capital inputs that work to drive businesses forward.


“We have to adjust the guidelines even more when there are problems, and not just cut or reduce people. When international business rebounds and organisations don't have people, we won't be able to compete in any meaningful way,” he insisted.


Circles.Life is another innovative Singapore-based company that has developed a unique way of delivering valued non-cash benefits and using them to build a a happy, productive workforce. The multinational mobile virtual network operator encourages employees to apply and attend any training course they like, if it will develop their skills, with all costs borne by the company. In addition, full-time permanent employees — regardless of their position — are awarded an employee stock ownership plan on top of their salary and yearly bonus.


This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's report on Compensation, Benefits, and Employee Health. For further coverage, and access to the full report, please see any of the below links:


Rising costs, Falling loyalty: How Comp & Ben departments are fighting the war for talent (full report)

Benefit costs up but loyalty stagnant: Chief of Staff research (news highlight)

Salaries rising across ASEAN in 2022, and likely far beyond (feature)

Healthcare inflation strikes a nerve across Southeast Asia (feature)

Circles.Life doing it differently on comp & ben (case study) March 29, 2022

HR Tech Update: Data-led healthcare insights (HR Technology Focus) March 31, 2022

New trends emerge for non-cash benefits (feature) April 1, 2022


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