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22 Dec 2022

6 themes that will make or break your benefits strategy in 2023

It’s been a year of huge change, and many companies benefits packages have struggled to keep pace. Here’s what to expect in 2023

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If you struggled to keep up with employee expectations in 2022, you’re not alone. If the events of 2020 and 2021 were, as so often described, ‘unprecedented’, what came in 2022 was surely ‘biblical’. Huge social, political and economic factors have been felt through war, drought and economic pressures.

Benefex’s research report, Great Expectations, interviewed thousands of employees worldwide and explored how their attitudes and expectations have changed. The research showed that there wasn’t a single aspect of people management or the employee experience that didn’t need to evolve to meet the demands of the modern workforce.

With benefits and wellbeing, reward and recognition, communication and technology, HR leaders have been rethinking their entire strategies to compete and stay relevant and competitive in an ever more dynamic and competitive labour market.

Workers expect more than ever before

And all of this has been happening in the context of a workforce that is expecting more from employers than ever before – in terms of emotional support, purpose and alignment with their own personal values. As always, there is much to do.

But there’s equally much to seize in terms of the opportunity for reward and benefits professionals to demonstrate the value they bring to employee wellbeing, experience and culture.

So, what should your priorities be for 2023?

6 themes that will make or break your benefits strategy in 2023

1. Mind the data gap. Stop self-actualising, start measuring

2. Use technology to create a home for wellbeing and the benefits that support it

3. Review how reward, benefits and recognition is communicated to prospective candidates

4. Show the value of reward and recognition in keeping great people

5. Put purpose and values at the centre of your reward and recognition strategy

6. Take your seat at the strategic HR table

You can download our January report to explore all six topics, but in the meantime, we suggest starting at the beginning. Because all strategy comes from insight. And all insight comes from…data.

Mind the data gap

Business leaders sometimes regard benefits as little more than a tick-box exercise that offers only a diminishing opportunity for return on investment or competitive differentiation. Benefits teams could better make the case for investment in employee experiences and, in doing so, improve outcomes for both organisation and employee, if they take a data-driven approach.

Organisations that use analytics to drive performance give themselves an insights edge. And that applies to the reward function as much as other parts of the business. Data within employee benefits and reward can deliver transformation.

However, our research shows that reward and benefits leaders have a long way to go to achieve a data-driven approach. Currently, only 6% of business leaders feel that their organisation does a good job of using data relating to employee benefits, trailing every other organisational function.

This isn’t lost on benefits professionals — 89% admit that they could improve their use of data.

And without the data, and the actionable insights that follow from it, reward professionals are relying on their perceptions of what’s working and what’s not. And that’s leading to a perception gap that’s undermining reward strategies.

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Benefits teams can’t continue to lag behind the rest of the business when it comes to understanding and using data, especially when reward leaders need to take up more strategic positions at the heart of their organisations.

Of course, collecting data is the easy part. Accessing, sorting and analysing it to get meaningful and actionable insight is much more challenging and many organisations struggle to do it successfully, held back by outdated systems and task complexity.

It’s vital to get this process right, because data’s potential to have a positive impact on organisations is enormous, whether in measuring, evaluating and optimising employee experiences or improving the benefits offering available to make it relevant to individuals’ needs and wants. And this is starting to happen.

Without doubt, showing the contribution of benefits, recognition and reward to the wider employee experience is becoming a critical differentiator. This will become an existential imperative for some reward strategies in 2023. Data has been described as the world’s most valuable resource and there’s no denying it is essential to providing improved employee experiences, driving better workforce strategies and, ultimately, delivering better business outcomes. It’s time to put that resource to work.

Benefex’s 2023 new year report, 6 themes that will make or break your benefits strategy, is now available for download. Click here to get your copy.

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