Ensuring that your benefits are appreciated by your people plays a crucial role in helping you to attract and retain talent
It’s vital to have a robust benefits engagement strategy that will help your people understand their benefits, and link them to feeling valued. That perceived value will affect what they say about your business (both externally and internally), and how potential new talent will view you as an employer.
Regular benefits engagement reviews will help you work towards your benefits ‘utopia’ - a vision for your future strategy, containing all the benefits you’d like to offer to attract and retain the best talent, if there were no constraints.
Our five top tips to ensure your employee benefits are delivering value
1. Ensure you review your benefits holistically at least every five years to ensure you’re making strategic, rather than tactical, changes
We recommend a comprehensive, holistic review of your benefits strategy around every five years, with a review of individual benefits every year.
Access to accurate, centralised data across all of your benefits will give you a comprehensive view of how they are performing against your target and will provide you with valuable insights into whether your current strategy is working. This will enable you to enhance your strategy accordingly, to ensure your benefits are engaged with, and valued, by your people.
Holistic benefits reviews give you an opportunity to look at the best possible value for your people and your business. It should be a balancing act, between affordability and competitiveness, and between choice and simplicity. Remember, you should think of your regular enhancements as ‘rebalancing’, rather than always ‘adding’.
Aim to make continuous enhancements, rather than aiming for the perfect scheme design immediately. After all, as your workforce evolves, your benefits will need to change too. Regular reviews ensure your scheme remains fit for purpose, and they provide ongoing opportunities for enhancements and rebalancing.
Finally, if you’re looking to add new benefits, It’s really important to get the budget agreed at the outset, so you don’t risk floating the idea of a new benefit with your people and then find it’s out of scope.
2. Always include benchmarking of your competitors’ benefits offerings – like you, they will be changing and enhancing them over time
People are willing to change jobs for better benefits, so you need to make sure you are competitive in the battle for the best talent.
Are your benefits offering something for all the demographics that make up your workforce, and for the new talent you want to recruit? Check whether you have a good spread across the core categories (health, wealth and lifestyle), meaning that there is something for everyone, at every stage of their life, to engage with. A recent study has shown that, while flexibility and bonus/profit sharing were important to all age groups, those in their 30s valued work/life balance benefits significantly more than other groups, those in their early career valued skills development, those in their 40s valued pension benefits, and those in their 50s and 60s most valued health and wellness and healthcare benefits respectively1.
3. Review your engagement levels honestly, don’t shy away from the difficult questions, and be willing to make changes or even remove benefits if they have low engagement
Be honest when looking at the engagement with your current benefits provision - Are your people really using and valuing their benefits? Do they measure up to the benefits offered by your competitors?
Do your benefits fit with your workplace culture? Some benefits or perks may have sounded like a great idea when you first introduced them, but if your people aren’t using them and they are costing your business money, they aren’t delivering value for your people or your business. Maybe you’re a business with strong sustainability credentials – do you have a cycle to work scheme or discounts to purchase electric cars?
Look at the obvious and make quick wins first – is there something that stands out, like an expensive benefit that few of your people are using, or is there something you can change slightly to improve engagement, potentially without even spending any extra budget?
4. Find out which benefits your people value most
Consider running an employee survey to establish which existing benefits your people appreciate most, and offer a selection of alternative benefits (within your parameters and budget) to find out which they’d like to see offered. You may find that the survey highlights a benefit your people say they value, but few are engaging with – this would indicate a need to improve accessibility or understanding of that particular benefit.
5. Test various channels for communicating with your people about their benefits, and try different media types (video, chat, text, push notifications, desk drops, etc) to see which ones resonate with different demographics within your workforce
How is each benefit being communicated? Are you using the most appropriate channels for all the demographics in your workforce? A particular benefit may have low engagement because your people don’t know about it, or understand how it is relevant to them.
Check whether your communications are giving clear signposting for your people to take action. Without clear signposting you’re just showing your people their benefits – you’re not giving them the means to take action to engage with them.
Are you also showcasing your great benefits in your recruitment activities, candidate packs, and on the careers pages of your website?
You need to ensure your benefits and workplace pension deliver value for your business
An employee benefits package and workplace pension is a significant investment for your business, yet many employers aren’t focusing on driving employee engagement, or measuring the value their benefits deliver.
Are your employees happier, healthier, and more engaged as a result of your great benefits? If you’re not sure, a review of your benefits engagement is probably overdue.
Remember, the end goal of any engagement project is not only to drive people towards your benefits but also to get employees properly engaged so that your benefits can support their physical, mental and financial wellbeing, making their working lives both easier and more productive.
With a firm foundation to build upon, you’re safe in the knowledge that your benefits spend is delivering real value, and ready to help you recruit, retain and reward the best talent available, allowing your organisation to grow.
See how NFP can help you drive engagement with your employee benefits
Maximising employee engagement with your benefits is an integral step to helping your people understand and value the solutions you provide. Having a well-structured strategy in place to maximise engagement ensures your employees recognise your investment in benefits as an investment in them.
Our employee benefits engagement and communications specialists take these principles as our starting point. We then engage with your people and bring your benefits to life, creating messages and communications strategies designed to promote action, encouraging every member to improve their outcomes.
1 YouGov, April 2020