How to revise and personalise employee benefits | Connor Broadley

INDUSTRY NEWS | 26th October 2020

How to revise and personalise employee benefits

By Charlie Pitt

Employee Benefits

6 Min Read

Since the pandemic changed how many of us work, employee benefits have edged into the spotlight. And, as businesses wade through the recession, hunting for cost effective ways to show employees they’re valued, they’ll hold their place in centre stage.

That’s partly because pay rises are increasingly off the table. In private sector services companies, the median basic pay award is 2.2%, down 0.3 percentage points compared to a year ago. Almost half (46%) of pay awards are lower than a year ago and one award in every six is a pay freeze.

That’s according to the latest available data by XpertHR which collected details of 611 pay awards in private-sector-services firms in the 12 months to 31 August 2020, representing more than 1.35 million employees.

While plenty of businesses are in no position to be offering pay rises, non-wage-related compensations can be more cost effective, and existing employee benefits strategies can usually be improved. A good place to start is with personalisation.

There are five very good reasons to personalise benefits:

  1. To make sure your people feel valued, seen and therefore more motivated
  2. To make sure the benefits you’re offering have real value to the individual at their life stage, and therefore increase engagement with what’s on offer
  3. To cater to specific interests, offer variety and create excitement
  4. To make sure you don’t accidentally upset someone (offering childcare benefits to someone who doesn’t have or can’t have children, for example)
  5. To make sure people at different levels – in terms of seniority or tenure – don’t see benefits that they cannot yet access (but you can also let employees know what benefits they’ll unlock in the future to create excitement).
How should I go about doing this?

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You don’t need to go far for conclusive market research. A great place to start is to consult your employees. Get feedback on your existing benefits: which have they reaped the most value from, which benefits have they never taken up and why? And, importantly, have their requirements and lifestyles changed now that more people work from home more often? Perhaps they’ve stopped going to the gym, a fitness benefit that you offer. A good employee benefits strategy will reflect current conditions.

Next, revise your strategy. This should reflect the demographic of your employee population and your company culture. Budget restraints will be a limiting factor, but there are benefits – such as the Cycle To Work scheme or offering more flexible working arrangements – that cost little or nothing to offer or that are really tax efficient.

Consulting an expert in employee benefits will help you avoid common mistakes. For example, data tells us that fitness benefits work better in organisations that have a strong culture of wellbeing. Insights like this can vastly improve the success of your strategy.

Then, it’s time to turn to technology that can deliver a totally personalised experience. A large proportion of HR teams are still using manual processes to administer their benefits, when low cost software in the cloud is widely available.

Of course, some are better than others, and offer different features and functions, such as Total Reward Statements, which help employees to see, understand and value your investment in their benefits or automated P11Ds – the system calculates the liability as benefits are selected and then produces the data for tax returns.

For a truly personalised experience, you’ll need to find a platform that segments users using data based on interests, situation and values. And, importantly, does the platform offer user data and analysis? And what can you learn from this?

Often overlooked is the ‘look and feel’ of the platform, but this is really critical. If employees don’t like the look of it they are less likely to engage and, when they do, their negative perceptions of the platform will influence how they feel about the benefits. So, back to your market research panel: get your employees to test out short-listed tech platforms before buying.

It also helps if your benefits platform can be integrated with existing technology that you use every day, to make it ultra accessible.

If you suspect your employee benefits may be sub par, give the team at Connor Broadley a call. We’ll either confirm your suspicions, and help you make them brilliant, or send you on your merry way: E. teambc@connorbroadley.co.uk T. 020 7647 8810.

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