Key questions to ask when procuring a benefits platform

Benefits platforms have evolved rapidly in recent years, bringing major improvements to the way that employee benefits schemes are implemented and managed. But with this improved functionality comes complexity and a great deal more choice.

Key questions to ask when procuring a benefits platform

Procuring the right benefits platform has become a major decision for any HR team. Whilst getting it right can have a hugely positive impact on your organisation, getting it wrong can do the opposite and be costly in the process. With that in mind, here are our tips for the key questions your team should be asking.

​What’s the typical engagement?

Any employee benefit scheme provider will have access to an array of data but perhaps most important is their typical rates of engagement. Engagement figures are crucial in indicating a scheme’s success, in particular whether the benefits being offered as part of a scheme are proving to be popular, whether a platform is user-friendly and how well that scheme is communicated.

Engagement stats can vary broadly and therefore can act as a useful comparison between different providers. Most schemes should be achieving uptake rates of between 50 per cent and 70 per cent.  

How do you ensure continued engagement?

This is a major challenge for any employer and this is where the best employee benefits schemes can really add value. It therefore pays to understand a potential provider’s approach to everything from design and implementation, to their ongoing communications strategy and even how management information is collected and analysed. 

A good communications strategy, for example, should incorporate a range of channels (including posters, emails and a range of external and internal platforms) and messages to ensure that it reaches the different demographics within your workforce. At the same time, it should include both a pre-launch and post launch plan.

One of the key factors that can influence continued engagement is the front-end, user experience. Put simply, if a platform looks great and is quick and easy to navigate, people will use it! Access through mobile apps and online portals is now the norm for most providers, allowing access to a range of different benefits options.

Many providers will also offer the ability to integrate a range of different benefits schemes onto one single portal, dramatically simplifying the user journey for employees and ultimately increasing engagement as well as reducing the admin burden for HR teams.

Can you tailor a solution to our needs?

The objectives of most employee benefits platforms will be broadly similar, yet each organisation may have specific needs depending on factors such as their staff demographic, IT infrastructure and budget.

For example, we talked earlier about mobile apps and online portals – this is particularly important for employers with lots of offline staff. IT infrastructure can also be a huge consideration for some organisations – we had one client for whom we needed to design a portal that was compatible with the specific mobile handsets used by their engineers on the road. This included engineering bespoke software and taking into account unique issues such as out-dated browser requirements.

Can you share some customer feedback and case studies?

Providers should be able to provide case studies and customer references for previous work they have done for their clients. Keep an eye out for well-known brands and businesses that operate in the same sector as you do – they may well share the same objectives and face the same challenges. It’s also worth looking at industry awards and media coverage – endorsements from peers and the media is a great gauge of quality. 

Can I have a demo?

When it comes to getting an in depth answer from potential suppliers, the best way to understand the nuts and bolts of a platform is to ask for a demonstration. These should be provided free of charge and can often be downloaded from supplier websites.

This article was provided by Xexec.

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