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07 May 2019

How a benefits platform can inform a business’ future reward design

You’ve invested in a benefits and rewards package for your employees – but what steps can you take to maximise their value and promote engagement.


An employee benefits platform that delivers a consumer-style shopping experience and helps employees understand and take control of their provision, can have an important role to play. What’s more, this can lead to significant time and cost efficiency savings for the business. 

Willis Towers Watson outlines some of the key considerations to help you evaluate and procure the most appropriate solution for you and your workforce.

Meeting the needs of the employer 
Essential, core functionality of any platform should automate many every day administrative tasks.

Management information should also automate the processing of flex scheme data, enabling reports to be generated for compliance and auditing purposes and providing breakdowns, at the touch of a button, on such things as the most popular benefit choices and the benefits that are accessed most frequently.

Having such intelligence readily available can help employers to make data-drive decisions about their future benefits design. Once again, it is worth remembering that this process can be further simplified where the intermediary and technology provider are one and the same.

Meeting the needs of the employee 
Less than half of UK employees (48 per cent) currently profess to being satisfied with their benefits package, according to the Willis Towers Watson’s Health and Benefits Barometer 2018.

While the design and composition of a benefits package will ultimately remain fundamental to satisfaction levels, providing the right platform to access them can go a long way in helping boost employee engagement, enabling a workforce to better understand and maximise the value of their provision.

Dealing with a single supplier – your preferred intermediary and benefits consultant – that can oversee everything from benefits design and the most appropriate strategic approach to delivering and administering the technology that will underpin its success is certainly helpful.

At the outset however, HR teams need to determine what they want their benefits platform to deliver. Some are little more than a shop window, while others offer sophisticated self-service functionality.

Clarity and simplicity of use, while providing a complete view of benefits, are key components. A future-proof platform will also take account of the trend towards a consumer-style tech experience. This will look to mirror the type of look, feel and interactions employees are used to from the likes of ecommerce and social media applications.

In-built tools and modelling algorithms that help to educate and guide employees, enabling them to make more informed benefits decisions for both themselves and their dependants, based on their demographics and personal circumstances, can prove particularly valuable.

Platforms that incorporate communication tools to raise and maintain awareness among employees – built in social media links, for example – should also be considered.

Ease of use
As is true of any software system, ease of use is vital – and for employees this can hold the key to successful engagement.

The look and feel should be smart and progressive – a sleek design that offers easy, intuitive navigation along with speed of data access. 

The ability to customise a platform may be welcomed by some, but customisation invariably brings with it an extra layer of complexity. A parameter-driver, off the shelf system that delivers on the business and employee needs from the outset would be preferable.

The case for connectivity 
Open platforms that enable system integration and the sharing of data have led to a seismic shift towards automated, end-to-end, business processes.

By being able to integrate a benefits platform with payroll or HR software, for example, you can now access, collate and cross-reference a wealth of information, all in one place – helping to reduce admin, cut costs and boost productivity. Furthermore, automating the transfer of data and having a ‘single source of the truth’ can help ensure both the accuracy and security of personal employee information.

Ease of deployment
An easy to deploy system that minimises IT disruption and offers access at any time, from any location, should be a key consideration for any business. 

This can often be cost-effectively achieved with a secure, cloud-based, SaaS solution, that is optimised for mobile or available via a mobile app. With such a system in situ, employees will have access to their benefits over a secure web connection, on any device.

HR, IT, Procurement and Finance Directors will always face budgetary constraints, but it should be remembered that an investment in business technology is an investment in the future – get it right and it should deliver both long term benefits and ROI for the company.

Platform costs will, of course, vary based depending upon the provider and how sophisticated the technology is.

A cost-benefit analysis, however, should take account of estimated time and resource savings, greater accuracy of administrative tasks, heightened benefits engagement, a potential fillip to recruitment and retention and the value benefit of overall improved employee satisfaction and morale.

This article is provided by Willis Towers Watson. 

In partnership with Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

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