1. Follow the number trail
One of the most obvious ways to see what benefits your employees value, is to check how much they are used. How easy a process this will be will depend on how you manage your benefits programme. You may be able to gather some engagement data internally. But you’ll probably have to reach out to external providers to get a comprehensive picture.
For example, you may use an insurance company to provide private medical cover. If so, you’ll need statistics on the number of claims coming from your workforce. You’ll also need data about how frequently employees are engaging with providers. Plus, it’s worth taking into account the usage of any added-value wellbeing services included.
Aggregating all the data will allow you to then analyse the effectiveness of your current approach. Having a single benefits partner provider helps in many ways; not least in the ability to gather and analyse all data. This all helps in getting your reward strategy right.
2. Review your communications strategy
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of communicating benefit programmes. After all, people can’t engage with something they don’t know is available. So you have to find the right way to get the message out there.
Have you heard of dynamic reward statements? These show the total value of each employee’s pay and reward package including both the benefits they claim and those they don’t. They are a simple way to connect with your employees and demonstrate the value of their benefits.
And by positioning them alongside online payslips, you can encourage employees to review the benefits available while checking their latest pay.
3. Ask your employees for their views
While usage statistics tell part of the story, the best way to find out what benefits your employees need, and like, is to ask them. Surveys, focus groups, the introduction of a question about benefits during line manager reviews – these are all good ways to find out what your employees really think. Yet 27% of employers do no employee research in this area, according to Aon’s 2021 Benefits & Trends Survey.
Now, with CIPD figures suggesting around four in 10 employees expected to work from home on a regular basis post-COVID, the value of certain benefits such as cycle to work schemes is likely to change dramatically.
So why not tailor benefits better to employee need? Asking employees what they want might set the stage for disappointment. Realistically, not all individual requests can be fulfilled. So setting expectations early is crucial.
There is another way to gain rich insights on your workforce without having to ask direct questions. By using the latest geodemographic tools available, you can avoid wasting money on unwanted benefits. It ensures your reward package is primed for the post-pandemic world.
4. Look at the bigger picture
What we do for work is just one aspect of who we are. Outside of work we are also children, spouses, parents, carers – the list goes on. So, the best way to understand why people are not engaging with employee benefits, and working to address this, is to get further insight into what makes them tick.
In the past, the only way to do this was to get to know each and every one of your employees – either personally or via their line managers. Now, however, technology can do that for you. For example, by using data from households you can gain a three-dimensional view of employees. Such technology could help turn your organisation from one that struggles to hire and retain talented staff, into one that people are eager to join.
*This article was written for, and features in REBA, September 2021