The future of flexible benefits systems: how communicating and engaging with employees will change
2020 was a catalyst for change in our approach to work-life balance. Not only did it force an army of remote workers, but it also meant employers looked to upgrade their benefits systems.
The future of flexible benefits is much closer. Now is the time to think about how we show respect, care and understanding of our employees, and how to support them. Gone are the days of offering one-size-fits-all solutions.
Here we examine how the world of communications is changing, and how to ensure it resonates.
First class service, as standard
Employees will, (and already do) expect more. It’s a given that flexible benefit systems must be easy to access, easy to navigate and easy to understand. But employees will also expect to be inspired and informed.
Welcome to the digital concierge
Artificial Intelligence is already driving chatbots, but largely as a resource. At the moment, this acts as an enhanced FAQ. The next stage is the digital assistant. A true concierge service, able to make suggestions and prompts based on an understanding of the employee’s circumstances.
Robo-advice services, already available in the pension arena, will extend to all protection products. They can identify gaps in cover and give real-time personalised illustrations.
Improved interactive calculators will help employees explore ‘what if’ scenarios. They will also be integral to overcoming the jargon and complexity that is still widespread in the benefits industry.
The essence of flexible benefits is choice. We will see benefits extending beyond the traditional health, savings and protection products. The goal is to empower employees with the tools to influence their organisation’s social and ethical behaviour. By and large, options that enable employees to participate in the environmental and sustainability agenda of their employer will feature more frequently.
Automation is gradually chipping away at the traditional once-a-year selection window. Straight Through Processing (STP) is here. One click by the employee is all it takes to activate or change a benefit, inform the product provider and update the payroll records. So, who will be doing the administration in the future? Answer: Nobody.
Employees are already frustrated when they must use multiple platforms in the workplace. The norm will be fully connected systems as standard. This will result in an employee-user journey that will be seamless from recruitment through retirement.
Good data drives good decisions. When combined with feedback from survey tools, employee benefits can be optimised for maximum effect. The concept of Big Data has been around for some time, but with the advent of enterprise-level analytics tools now integrated in employee benefits systems, the enhanced measurability will give employers the information they need quickly and efficiently.
Whilst employee benefits vary greatly, international businesses strive to have a consistent voice and aspire to having one, global community.
The employee value proposition is enhanced when technology can cross borders, aiding the inclusion and diversity agenda. Multi-lingual and multi-currency platforms assist in this process. Such platforms will also have the capability of aggregating and consolidating data to enable relevant comparisons of engagement and take-up.
As individuals we are all becoming more aware of the value of our personal data. And as we continually evolve into the online world, our concerns will only increase. We trust our employers to act responsibly with our data. In turn, they must trust the third parties they engage to manage data on their behalf.
Given the very real risk of reputational damage and financial penalties, employers need to be especially careful about who they work with. Only those providers with top-tier data security practices will be selected. So, security programmes will be monitored closely and will continually evolve.
The future of flexible benefits is here and ready for the taking. Astute HR and reward professionals will no doubt be looking to implement such systems already, ensuring the best possible rewards and benefits plans for their teams. Many flexible benefits platforms are equipped to make the shift even easier to put in place. With the above considerations, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.
This article is provided by Avantus.
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