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05 Aug 2022
by Dawn Lewis

REBA Inside Track: without data, personalisation is just a dream

The personalisation of benefits needs to be built on a foundation of employee data, as REBA's content editor explores

REBA Inside Track: without data, personalisation is just a dream.jpg

 

Recently I was browsing an online forum when a question piqued my interest. A job candidate had been asked about their social economic background……did their parents attend university? Were they the first person in their family to attend university? 

The applicant felt the questions were incredibly personal and they wanted to know why an employer would want, or even need, such information.

The answer lies with the employer wanting to better understand the social economic background of its employees. This is not just for the ability to report on the data, but also to ensure that it is building a diverse and inclusive workforce – KPMG is just one example of an organisation that is taking steps to improve social mobility by seeking data from its employees on their social background.

What had clearly gone amiss in this individual’s application was the explanation as to why such information was being requested. 

This is a perfect example of the importance of communicating why certain data is required. It may be for diversity, equity and inclusion purposes, to better understand individual employees’ family responsibilities, to help influence benefits design, or even medical background questions to ensure the right adjustments and health support is in place. Whatever the reason, candidates and employees need to be made aware – after all, how this data is used should ultimately be to their benefit.

Our recent Benefits Design 2022 research highlighted that the personalisation of benefits is a significant trend. By 2024, almost nine in 10 (85%) employers will be focused on personalisation, up from a quarter (25%) today. And this is why employers need such comprehensive data about their employees – without it, trying to build a personalised approach to employee benefits would be just a dream.

Connected to this desire to create a more personalised experience, is the drive towards inclusivity and fairness in employee benefits. In our research, just under half (46%) of employers say they currently focus on fairness in benefits offerings across pay grades, but by 2024 nearly nine out of 10 (87%) employers will be doing this. 

The report notes: “Benefits strategies that are fair and appeal to employees with a wide range of different needs, priorities and experiences are likely to become more of a differentiator over the next two years, and an offering that appeals to a broad range of people on a personal level is becoming an important design factor.”

So, coming full circle, reward and benefits professionals need comprehensive data about their employees to ensure they can deliver on the aspiration to provide a more personalised and inclusive benefits experience. The trick now is to get employees and candidates on board with this vision and to get them to trust in it – communicate the whys and hows, and demonstrate what collecting the data has achieved for employees. 

This might sound obvious, but as recent experience would suggest…the dots haven’t necessarily been connected for all.

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