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29 Apr 2024
by Will Davidson

Key questions to ask a potential benefits system provider

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure a technology platform is going to meet yours and your employees’ needs

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Global reward leaders are struggling to show the strategic importance of an employee benefits platform.

Investment can easily get tied up in administrative burdens driven by outdated technology and manual processes, which can hinder the business case for new platforms. Legacy systems with low engagement and poor data further complicate matters.

And yet technology plays a crucial role in the global employee experience and an employee benefits platform that meets user expectations is a big part of how employees feel about going to work every day. Indeed, 66% of employees say workplace technology is important in providing a great employee experience.

So, here are the big questions you need to ask when evaluating new benefits technology. Employers that get it right can elevate the employee experience and improve engagement, acquisition and retention.

1. How does the platform address my problems?

Some of the biggest challenges HR and benefits leaders say they face include:

  • Increasing employee expectations

An exceptional benefits platform requires expertise in both technology and employee benefits. According to research, 50% of organisations say employees are demanding more flexibility and personalisation in benefits.

So, employers that want to be truly market-leading are adding more flexible benefits options.

  • Administration burden

Benefex research shows 40% of global employers say the main reason they want to implement high-quality benefits tech is to reduce administration.

Although some tech solutions might fulfil the basic requirement to have a platform in place, the experience it delivers can be impersonal, clumsy and out of kilter with the rest of the workplace. Technology that frustrates and complicates is likely to fail.

2. How does the platform meet growing employee expectations?

Reward leaders are struggling to create benefits programmes that promote wellbeing and engender loyalty due to low engagement with their benefits technology.

The platforms many companies have invested in might not meet employee expectations. Today, due to the personalised experience delivered by the likes of Netflix and Amazon, employees expect more from their workplace tech.

However, many employers still rely on outdated platforms. Only around 20% of employees think their organisations are delivering an excellent experience in each of these areas.

3. How does the platform ensure relevant and timely global communications?

In the hybrid-working world, it’s more important than ever to communicate with employees with integrity, timeliness and relevance. Typically, there are three layers to benefits communications:

  • Those you want to communicate at a global level
  • Country-specific communications
  • Communications for a specific demographic

Ask a potential provider how their platform supports this and what real-time data will be available to you.

Effective content and communication are often overlooked, but play a crucial role in providing employees with the consumer-grade and personalised experience they expect. To drive benefits engagement, communications must be clear, engaging and prompt employees to take action. The most successful schemes we see have data-driven communications at their core.

4. How much support can I expect?

Based on your organisation type, your support needs will vary.

You might want to opt for managed services to ease administrative burdens like vendor reporting, renewal activity and employee support.

Large-scale global enterprises may prefer an in-house managed global shared service model.

In either case, expect your benefits tech provider to outline the onboarding processes and provide visibility into training and support collateral for a smooth transition that keeps your teams engaged.

Understanding the employee support services on offer is also important.

Ask your tech provider what they will do to alleviate pressure on your internal teams.

Your technology provider should be talking through the options and trade-offs with you, advising and eliminating any nasty surprises in the form of unexpected processes and activities for you and your team.

5. What strategic insight can I get from the platform?

Organisations are increasingly seeking better insight and analytics from their benefits platforms, with 83% wanting to know more details about benefits spend, take-up and ROI.

However, only 45% can currently measure real-time total spend on benefits and assess its impact on employee engagement. A significant 85% see potential in technology and data for understanding employees, while 80% aim to boost benefits engagement.

A total of 84% of HR leaders firmly believe that harnessing data for benefits and rewards can significantly improve organisational outcomes.

Employers are using high quality benefits technology to show the value of everything they offer employees (48%), better understand their employees (45%), reduce administration (38%) and support company values and purpose (32%).

Key questions your platform needs to be able to answer include:

  • What benefits are people selecting?
  • Who’s taking what, and how much?
  • What’s missing from your offering?
  • Who are you serving?
  • What’s the benchmark – is take-up higher or lower than other organisations in your sector?

Tracking engagement metrics, gathering feedback and demonstrating ROI allows organisations to continually refine and tailor their benefits offerings to better meet the evolving needs of employees.

Creating a more engaged and satisfied workforce

As organisations face increasing demands for flexibility, personalisation, and wellbeing support from employees, they must adapt their benefits strategies.

To gain deeper insights into the questions you should be asking to make an informed choice when selecting a benefits platform, watch Benefex’s webinar, ‘5 questions to ask your benefits platform provider’.

In partnership with Benefex

The home of award-winning employee benefits, reward, recognition, & communications.

Contact us today