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09 Dec 2022
by Julia Turney

Employer DNA: 3 tips for starting a benefits data strategy

Using data to drive your new benefits strategy should have an impact on employee retention

Employer DNA: 3 tips for starting a benefits data strategy.jpg 1


The shift in the employee-employer power balance caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has meant it is more vital than ever for businesses to attract and keep the best talent.

A flexible, robust benefits package is a large part of this new reality. More and more organisations are looking to do away with the old, standard benefits and are looking to embrace data-driven benefit packages that meet the needs of their workforces.

Here are our top tips for getting started towards a new benefits package:

1. Fill in your data search

The first step is not just doing data research, but ensuring you are doing your data research right. If you don’t cover all the bases, you run the risk of any future rewards package not meeting the needs of your diverse workforce.

Here is a snapshot of some of the data sets you will ideally have access to before you start crunching the numbers:

  • Workforce demographics
  • Benefit take-up
  • Productivity ratios
  • Pay gaps
  • Internal feedback (exit interviews, employee surveys, etc)
  • External feedback (Glassdoor, Indeed, etc)
  • Sickness and absence (including claims)
  • Diversity and inclusion (D&I) impacts
  • Turnover

You can then take this data and overlay with your approach to D&I, sustainability and people risk to set your strategic plans and objectives, of which your reward offering is a part.

Barnett Waddingham believes that by examining your ‘employer DNA’ – your data – you can find answers to questions you may have previously thought difficult. Has the introduction of previous benefits led to an increase in productivity and/or a reduction in absenteeism? What about employee retention? Have departing employees cited issues around benefits and the wider reward experience as a reason for leaving?

2. Lay out your business needs

Once this data is in place, it is important to decide your corporate objectives.

We all want happy, motivated employees, so it is worth expanding on what you think this looks like, and what role benefits have in achieving this wider Employee Value vision. Your data should help you to create ‘personas’ - hypothetical employees with wants and needs moulded by the data you have collected. These can help narrow your focus, enabling you to flesh out what your workforce needs.

You may find that different areas of your workforce require different benefit options. But most digital employee benefit platforms are flexible by design, so whatever shape you believe your rewards package must take, it should be achievable with the right benefits partner.

It is important at this stage to also lay out how to measure success, tied to your objectives. Include core outcomes such as benefit uptake and platform use, but also consider factors such as reductions in HR admin time spent on benefits, through to wider organisational targets such as improvements in absence rates or turnover.

All of this can help you understand what you want as a business, long before you start to look for benefit solutions.

3. Ask your employees

The most crucial part of any data-lead benefits strategy is listening to employees. They are the lifeblood of your organisation, so not including them in the process can lead to an inadequate benefits package that fails to meet their needs, or engage them properly, both of which lead to a poor employee experience.

You must also find the best medium to communicate with everyone.

Through employee surveys, workers can also bring to light other business issues beyond benefits. And with organisations always at risk of talent loss, poor-decision making and falling behind competitors, these findings can really help mitigate people risks.

If possible, also use face-to-face sessions, as these often provide the best insight into employee sentiment. These can be part of your everyday operations, using team leaders, line managers, engagement and wellbeing champions and even mental health first aiders.

Boil these findings down to the big issues your employees want to be addressed. Their stated preferences for sustainability, flexibility or diversity, coupled with your business needs and data research will put you in a position to start looking for the right benefits for everyone.

In partnership with Barnett Waddingham

Everything we stand for at Barnett Waddingham is embedded in our promise – to do the right thing. We’ve applied this meaningful principle across all aspects of our business with continued success.

Contact us today