Time for a benefits health check?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Are your benefits relevant, up to date and appreciated by your staff?

While it is important to keep your benefits programme fresh, it can be tempting to continue to introduce new products in an attempt to keep staff engaged. Although it is great to keep adding to your programme, it is also important to review your current benefits as well as the new ones. After all, no organisation wants to have benefits that no one uses. Having lots of benefits to choose from can be overwhelming for staff. Instead, organisations need to remember that adoption and retention should be the measure of success, not the length of the benefit lists.

Here are some ways you can check that your benefits are relevant, up to date and appreciated by your staff.

Get Feedback

The easiest way to figure out if your staff are appreciative of the benefits you offer is to ask them. This could be a quick catch up at the start of the day, during team meetings or even a survey - all of which are great ways to get insight on what is working and which benefits could use a bit of TLC. Annual Surveys are a traditional way to get feedback, but sometimes by the time you receive the feedback it could be too little, too late. Incorporating a quick survey into your regular comms or sending pulse surveys to staff’s phones are great ways to get in the moment feedback with regards to how they are feeling about their benefits. Sometimes it is difficult for Senior Managers to accurately gauge the opinions of staff, as their ear isn’t as close to the ground as other employees and their peers. Staff may also feel reluctant to share feedback face to face. One way to avoid the awkwardness of being accosted by a Director during a break, demanding to know what they think about Cycle 2 Work Schemes is to set up a group of Benefits Champions who make up a representation of all roles and levels within the business and find out what staff are really thinking.

What do the stats say?

It is so important that the team in charge of benefits takes some time to go through the data, to see what benefits are working best and which ones have passed their sell by date. One way to do this is to analyse the usage and participation. Software such as the Hapi Hub by Personal Group can look into a plethora of information that can help you shape the future of your benefits programme. From details of who is logging in and how often, to how much is saved via discounted offers, right down to the topics of focus when calling the EAP (whilst keeping the identity of the caller anonymous) - this information is vital in spotting what is working as well as identifying what other benefits are needed. Perhaps you spotted a surge in staff calling the EAP helpline with financial stress right after Christmas? This insight would reveal that a Financial Wellness Programme or Fair Value Loans product might be appreciated with staff who may have not been forthcoming with their financial struggles.

Seasonal Benefits

Some benefits are not for life and might just be for Christmas. If you have the capacity to do so it might be worthwhile tailoring your benefits to suit staff at different times of the year. This could be offering different perks in your Rewards and Recognition programme (Mother’s Day treats, Easter Getaways) or introducing Black Friday offers on your savings site. Not only do these efforts engage staff, it also shows that you are taking the time and consideration to ensure that the benefits on offer to staff are relevant and unlikely to go out of date. As well as seasonal, why not break it down even further? Benefits can be tailored right down to each individual member of staff based on age, location or interests. Younger staff may not want information on Pensions, but you can be sure they would be keen to learn more about getting their hands on the latest iPad through Salary Sacrifice!

Mix it up while staying consistent

There are so many quirky benefits out there at the moment and it can be tempting to install a ping pong table in the staff room or launch Fajita Fridays, just because everyone else is doing it. Introducing quirky benefits can help drive participation but also runs the risk of disengaging staff and destroying your credibility. Your choice of employee benefits should support your overall strategy. Quirky benefits are great but only if they are consistent in moving you towards your strategic goal. Free donuts can detract from the focus on employee wellbeing for example!

So why not take a look at your benefits and see if there are other ways you can engage staff that aren’t as obvious as some of the more trendy benefits out there? Giving staff the option to grow in their role with Learning and Development Days or getting involved in their local charity are simple, inexpensive ideas to change the way your staff interact with their benefits. Get your staff involved in having a brain storm to find out what benefits are not only relevant, but invest those that will be useful too.

It can be very tempting to just add more new benefits onto your platform each time morale is low or when participation drops. Without careful consideration, organisations can fall foul of bombarding staff with too much information which may have a negative effect. With a review of benefits and a bit of a makeover, using employee feedback, you are more likely to engage staff in their benefits which in turn can make them happier at work and more productive.

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