Five Steps to Implement Data-Led Personalization
1. Build personas informed by data. To build an evergreen EVP, first look at the workforce. Finding out who they are and what they care about will inform decisions to help meet their needs. But without looking at each employee individually, some degree of segmentation will be required to understand their common needs and desires.
A persona is a descriptive category that fits a reasonable fraction of the workforce, with enough shared traits to be meaningful. Personas start with a core data set of shared characteristics.
2. Develop an evergreen EVP. Use personas, collected data about existing programs and benchmarking to establish an evergreen EVP. An evergreen EVP is the concept of reinventing employee offerings on an ongoing basis. It both tracks and uses data over time and adjusts and tailors the proposition based on that data. Then look at benefits through the lens of a flexible EVP, keeping personas in mind.
For example, consider remote work versus hybrid work. It can be an emotional issue, as many employees have noticed improved wellbeing since receiving more flexibility in where and how they work. A company that leans too hard on a mandated return to office risks alienating or losing employees. An evergreen EVP takes into account other factors, giving companies a better idea of what levers they can use to meet their business needs without risking their employees.
3. Align benefits and rewards. Programs should be adjusted to reflect the evergreen EVP so that what is offered matches the employer’s culture and mission. The EVP must be authentic and help meet the organization’s commitments to DEI&B. It can’t be just words.
Build a foundation by asking the following questions:
- What do our employees want?
- How do their preferences differ by employee segments?
- How can we optimize the spend we have on rewards?
- What role do benefits and rewards play in our EVP?
- Do our offerings allow us to meet business needs?
The tools a company chooses and how they implement them is also crucial. The best use of benefit technology leverages predictive analytics and generative artificial intelligence to simplify choices, drive value and optimize benefit spend.
4. Target communication. It won’t be possible to calibrate benefits and rewards to each individual. But it can be effective to communicate to distinct groups of employees in a more targeted manner. Rather than blasting out information about benefits to all employees at once, targeted communications highlighting specific benefits to the groups most likely to use them can let employees know that their voice is heard. Additionally, the method and style of communication can be personalized to meet employees where they are.
Companies have been personalizing benefits recently through flexible benefits. Giving employees a choice in benefit selection enables employers to support the differing wants and needs of employees, resulting in greater personalization.
5. Review EVP performance. Ongoing data analysis can help support an evergreen EVP. Personalizing benefits and rewards is not a one-time action. We recommend building processes into a firm’s HR calendar to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. This might include:
- Conducting an annual pay equity audit to ensure fair pay processes.
- Looking at employee engagement on total rewards through pulse surveys.
- Analyzing benefits uptake and time off to understand which benefits are most valuable to employees. It’s important to note that low use may not reflect a lack of interest, but rather indicate whether a benefit is encouraged or discouraged.
- Using this type of data to revisit the company’s evergreen EVP on a regular basis.