Review and renew: the secret of making your benefits work harder

When it comes the issue of pay and reward, the public sector is uniquely challenged at the moment. With a limit on salary increases, other areas of the reward mix become more important in the employee value proposition.

public sector

In the past year, as the sole provider of employee benefits to UK Government departments and agencies, we’ve seen this first hand just how much this is the case. Working with over 44 different public sector organisations – ranging from Defra, the Department of Health and the Gambling Commission to Ofsted, the Home Office and Crown Commercial Services - has also provided us with some great insight about what employers need to get right in reward to deliver something which really makes a difference.

For employers, bespoke platforms matter…

A few years ago employers were happy to offer employees a range of benefits with multiple log-ins and platforms from an array of employee benefit brands. Not anymore. Today employers are clear that they want a platform which keeps their organisation’s identify front and foremost, the process of sign-up slick and simple and choice to offer the benefits they think are right for their people. The logic is clear: what is simple for them to manage will be simple and better to use for the employee.

…And choice is important for employees too

Of course, this demand for choice is really reflecting what employees want from their benefits proposition: the ability to pick the benefits which fit with their needs at any given time. Giving employees the power to do this not only reflects the expectations they bring into the workplace as consumers but also enhances the value of the benefits themselves.

Trying something new: the art of experimentation

As you would expect, the mainstays of the benefits mix like childcare vouchers and cycle-to-work schemes are still hugely popular with employees. What we have also seen is the rise in popularity of benefits which are relative newcomers. A good example is our employee savings platform which, where it has been included, has proved hugely popular by providing significant savings for employees on things from shopping to holidays and entertainment.

The power of change

A final, powerful learning, is about the simple power of change in driving engagement and take-up of employee benefits. For public and private sector employers alike where HR and benefits teams face numerous daily challenges, it isn’t unusual for the simple act of reviewing your benefits proposition to fall down the to-do list in the course of the business year. Making commitment to change and refresh what you offer your employees is a sure-fire way of driving up the number of people who use them.

Of course, none of these points are unique to the public sector but they highlight how much a well thought-out, well designed and well executed benefits scheme can support the recruitment and retention of the right talent at a time when it is needed most.

Andy Philpott is marketing and sales director for Edenred UK.

This article was provided by Edenred.

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