Reward director masterclass: The knowledge needed to ensure longevity of benefits technology
Technology represents a delivery mechanism and although it needs to be robust and future-proof, the first question reward director’s should be asking themselves is does their actual reward strategy have longevity: are you confident that it supports the need to recruit and retain staff against the backdrop of current and future challenges such as an ageing workforce, shrinking talent pool, ongoing austerity, stagnant wage growth and National Living Wage increases?
At a time of flat wage growth, Total Reward is key. And in the face of squeezed benefits budgets, voluntary and flex benefits can add a lot of value but take-up of the former, in particular, is usually very low. This is despite the fact that voluntary benefits suit the changing nature of employment, catering for a more agile workforce (ie contractors) that require portable benefits, giving employees choice and flexibility and effectively taking benefits off payroll so reducing employee P11D exposure.
So after putting in place your selection of benefits, the next challenge is often to integrate and communicate their availability and value.
Most companies do this on an annual basis, if at all. But this doesn’t seem to sit well with the fact that employees generally get paid monthly. It’s worth considering the value of communicating Total Reward at the same time as monthly pay. This would allow for a real-time view of accumulating benefits such as Share Plans and aspects of the flex scheme: for example, savings made by using voluntary benefits and/or discount vouchers.
Next, put in place a mechanism to accurately measure take-up and monitor employee feedback. This evidence, how you act upon it and communicate that action to your people is crucial because, let’s face it, your people are everything.
Reward and Employee Experience
The only way for employers to ensure true employee-centricity and from the top down is to integrate all their business functions, including Reward, in the common goal of Employee Experience (EX).
EX represents a leap on from employee engagement. It’s the sum of everything an employee experiences from pre-employment, onboarding and everyday life to exit and retirement.
And it’s at this juncture that the technology aspect comes in. To deliver EX, employers need a completely innovative and robust tech-based solution, that will not only allow you to expand your current benefits offering, but will also allow for powerful employee behavioural insights. These insights can be used to drive engagement with benefits so that all of your people know, understand, use and appreciate the reward package that you have to offer.
There are systems now available that link Total Reward, flex, payslips, employee self-learning, employee share schemes and executive share portals via a ‘single sign in’, in addition to providing regular feedback and measuring employee engagement, net promoter scores and even metrics from websites such as Glassdoor.
What’s more, they’re fully inclusive and accessible by all: available on any device at any time, from any location.
Data underpins everything. With the right tools, it’s possible to combine employee data to unlock insights that explain employee behaviours. This might involve integrating first party data (employee satisfaction surveys, share scheme members, pension contributions and benefit information); third party information (lifestyle, household information, financial, employer) and open source data (local government statistics, access to services, deprivation / affluence).
Armed with this information, you can develop bespoke communication strategies to target different cohorts and influence individuals more positively. You can also incorporate triggers, designed to prompt multi-channel communications (real time, print, digital, augmented reality) to employees at critical moments in their life, such as moving house, having a child, changing jobs etc.
In short, if your benefits technology has the tools and capabilities to ensure accessibility, choice and tailored, real-time communications, it’s probably safe to say that it has longevity.
The author is Andrew Woolnough, Director of HR Solutions at Equiniti.
This article was provided by Equiniti.
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