Arbitrarily throwing benefits in the direction of employees and hoping something will stick is an approach taken by many organisations. But despite the significant investment, their employees still don’t understand their benefits scheme or fully value its worth.
Can you really blame them?
So often benefits programs are borne from good intentions, but the execution falls short, resulting in a largely irrelevant or unappealing offering that may have never been effectively communicated in the first place. On the flip side, a compelling proposition with the potential to have real impact may exist, but someone’s hidden the detail in the depths of the company intranet.
Luckily, turning around an ineffective employee benefits program is easier than most think. And when you hit the nail on the head, benefits can be the competitive edge to attract talented recruits to the door, and the point of difference that gives them more reason to stay.
Don’t start without a plan.
According to research, ‘organisations that have a clearly defined employee benefits strategy are better positioned to manage costs’ and have greater success at engaging their people.
Do focus your attention.
Consider your goals and target your benefits program to meet the needs of your employee base. Tailor offers and communications to drive loyalty and increase engagement.
Don’t offer irrelevant ‘benefits’.
It’s not worth promoting insurance for dependents to the childless, or offering unlicensed employees a great deal on premium car rental. If they can’t benefit from it, it’s a waste of time.
Do cater to the ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude of each individual.
Provide a wide and flexible benefits offering so employees can set their own preferences, utilise what suits their lifestyle and take advantage where they see value.
Don’t adopt a set and forget mentality.
Research suggests it’s ‘not enough to merely maintain the status quo’ when it comes to benefits. What resonates with your employees now may diminish over time.
Do keep the offering current.
For a benefits program to effectively retain and engage employees for the long term, its offering must be reviewed regularly to fill the holes where choice might be lacking.
Don’t hide your program.
About ½ of organisations do not communicate the reward value of their employee benefits programs. Although obvious, many remain unknown and underutilised due to poor communications.
Do tell them about it, regularly.
Put in place a strong marketing and communications plan for your program in order to maximise ROI. Don’t be afraid to utilise all channels to keep benefits front of mind.
Don’t make your program an island.
The best benefits could be seen as nothing more than window dressing if you don’t consider how they fit into your overall employee value proposition.
Do complement current initiatives.
Consider how your benefits program supports existing employee recognition, reward and incentive programs to encapsulate an effective total reward strategy.
Don’t make it difficult.
Ensure accessing your benefits program is not unwieldy or time consuming. The focus should be in making it as easy and enticing as possible to encourage repeat use.
Do consider multiple channels.
Provide a seamless user experience to drive high utilisation. Ensure your benefits are always at arm’s length via multiple channels including online and mobile.
Don’t underestimate the value.
You can’t assume your employees are fully aware of what they’re gaining by having access to a suite of benefits and what worth that represents.
Do make it clear how they’ve profited.
Experts suggest you should regularly spell out ‘what your employees are getting and at what cost.’ A running tally of earned benefits or accrued savings is powerful in further highlighting the value.
Employee benefits are really easy to get wrong. But with the right approach they are a powerful tool for attracting and retaining a great workforce.
Sources: Towers Watson Employee Benefits Trends Survey across 12 countries in Asia Pacific, ‘True Value: Getting Salary and Benefits Right, Managing Your Employee Expectations’ Randstad, ‘The Basics of Employee Benefits’ Entrepreneur, Inentivemag, ‘Corporate perks. Engagement Catalyst?’ about Reload Media
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