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12 Nov 2020
by Robert Hicks

Four new ways employee benefits can motivate and reinvigorate your workforce

The right benefits can motivate and support employees, helping them to feel valued and recognised for their hard work, and that is even more important in today's environment. A recent Reward Gateway survey revealed that 51% of employees said they are looking to move jobs, citing feelings of underappreciation and a lack of recognition (30%), a lack of support (26%) and insufficient connection to the company (23%), as their reasons for departure.

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So how do you make sure that you're giving your people easy access to the best benefits, and stand out as an employer of choice? Here are a few things you can do to make sure your people really understand their benefits, get the most from them, and feel motivated and supported as a result:

1. Put your people first

While some people in your business will quickly jump onto benefits, like salary sacrifice programmes or private medical insurance, others may want savings on everyday expenses like groceries and household necessities. Providing a diverse menu of employee benefit options, that impact a high percentage of your workforce, is key.

Employees engage with benefits they care about, so they should be involved in your overall benefits strategy from the get-go. Employees will engage with your benefits more if they are benefits that your employees really want  — how do you find that out? Ask them! Taking the time to ask, listen to and measure what your workforce really values will help ensure your investment and efforts aren’t wasted.

Using surveys and platform analytics to get feedback from different areas of the business can help inform your strategy. While external benchmarking is important when it comes to designing benefits offerings, ensuring they are truly relevant and inclusive will improve take-up and longevity of a benefits programme. The worst thing that you can do is roll out a great benefit to 5% of your workforce and make the rest of them feel not as important. Great benefits should benefit all your employees.

2.   Make it easy to understand

HR spends tons of time and money developing dry, boring and technical benefits communication material, and then wonder why no one was reading it or taking the actions as instructed. Times have certainly changed; benefits professionals are realising that they need to put the same amount of effort into their communication as they do into their benefits design and administration. And that’s because one of the most powerful tools to deliver a return on investment (ROI) on your benefits is communication, something that gives your benefits the voice and spotlight it needs and deserves. Without communication, you risk your benefits not being understood, not being used, and not being engaged with, all of which are essential goals for any successful benefits programme.

As we know, lost communications, forms, approvals, deadlines, multiple platforms and logins, all get in the way and create friction for employees. Using a comprehensive employee engagement platform for communicating with employees and having all their need-to-know information in one place makes it easy for employees to access their own tailored benefits and make use of them.

In your benefits tech stack, make sure you include a centralised place where employees can go to view benefits information, relevant documents and policies, and can access benefits directly through self-service options 24/7. Plus, you can reduce HR admin when it comes to updating these communications and documentation, as it all will reside in one space.

3. Personalise the employee experience and provide flexibility

Your employee user experience should be front of mind when building a world-class employee benefits programme. Employers that can offer personalised and convenient benefits are setting their employee experience and employer brand above the rest.

Employees care about benefits that impact their own daily life. Discount programmes are typically used more often than many benefits since they tie into employees’ everyday spending, leading to greater ROI for your business. For example, employee discounts and benefits that directly impact financial wellbeing will be “the gift that keeps on giving” well beyond the Christmas season. An online discounts programme can be set up, fully implemented and made available to every employee in mere weeks, so your employees can start saving straight away.

While a large selection of employee benefits can help spark engagement, providing flexibility when accessing certain benefits is important too. As your employees progress in their career or go through different personal and professional milestones, their priorities will change. While some benefits should be available all year around, you can take advantage of making other benefits available during specific windows of the calendar year. This helps with planning and budgeting.

For example, we have a quarterly benefits window where employees can opt to take advantage of our wellbeing benefit, or buy or sell annual leave. It creates excitement in the lead up to exclusive benefits being available at specific times of the year. Segmenting communications and scheduling open enrolment windows makes it easy for employees to understand and apply for benefits and get the right information to the right people, at the right time.

4. Boost enrolment and increase usage with easy access

Can your employees easily access their benefits when they actually need them? If they need assistance, can you or your employee benefits provider offer real-time support outside business hours? As an employer, consider how you can support your people when they need it most. To motivate enrolment invest in tools that offer a consumer-grade experience that your employees have come to see as “normal” in their personal lives. Providing employees with 24/7 real-time support when accessing their employee engagement platform helps to increase usage and the overall impact of the benefits programme.

The right mix of employee benefits can transform your employee engagement, and provide support to your people where they need it most, giving them that extra motivation to put their best foot forward at work.

The author is Robert Hicks, group HR director at Reward Gateway.

This article is provided by Reward Gateway.

In partnership with Reward Gateway

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