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14 Sep 2023
by Dawn Lewis

REBA Inside Track: Benefits technology can drive employee engagement

Benefits data and technology is fundamental to supporting employee engagement and the EVP, as REBA's editor Dawn Lewis explores in our Data and Technology Research 2023

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From ChatGPT and advancements in artificial intelligence, to strategic data analytics at your fingertips, technology change is already making waves in all aspects of business. Employers and governments alike are working at pace to understand and benefit from the implications of these innovations. 

The potential for these technologies in HR, benefits and reward systems are significant. Communications tools such as more sophisticated chatbots, greater benefits flexibility and personalisation and enhanced data analysis are incredibly powerful. They have the potential to help employers rethink their employee value propositions (EVPs) and engage employees with benefits that are genuinely relevant to them. 

REBA’s Data and Technology Research 2023, in partnership with Buck, a Gallagher Company, reveals that many employers are beginning to understand the great potential that technology offers to support their HR, reward and benefits strategies, but have yet to take full advantage of them. 

Supporting the employee experience 

Over recent years the employee experience has become a fundamental element of the EVP, largely due to a more pressured talent market – both from an attraction and retention perspective – and employee expectations. 

The employee experience connects with nearly every element of employment, but especially with HR and benefits technology. Bar the interactions employees have with their managers, HR and benefits systems are employers’ shop window and are key to engaging employees with the organisation’s EVP. 

Nearly three-quarters of respondents to REBA’s Data and Technology Research 2023 agree that engagement with benefits and improving the EVP could be better achieved with improved benefits data. 

However, just under half (46%) of employers are grappling with legacy platforms and a mixture of ‘best of breed’ systems, which is limiting their ability to focus on wider HR objectives. 

User experience is key 

Technology use in reward and benefits is at a crossroads. Employers are beginning to recognise the limitations of their current systems and are prioritising future needs such as a positive user experience and the ability to analyse benefits trends for more effective reporting. 

For employees and employers alike, the majority want one log-in for all benefits portals and platforms (66% and 64% respectively), and an intuitive user experience (65% and 69% respectively). In addition, greater personalisation of benefits (65%) and communications (72%) are also highly sought-after. 

Yet, to really improve employee engagement and the EVP, employers need to be able to analyse benefits data effectively and efficiently to help guide strategic decisions. Currently, just 5% of respondents use benefits technology that provides highly effective advanced data analytics. However, 89% would value this functionality. 

With 60% of respondents saying that their spend on technology will increase in the next two years, updates to benefits technology that improve employee engagement and help to enhance the EVP could offer a competitive advantage in the race to attract talent, while also helping to prepare the business for future technology advancements.