Effective benefits communications can improve benefits take-up as well as staff motivation levels, says health and fitness coach Adam Strong.
According to Strong, who argues that UK employers are ‘cutting corners’ by providing generic benefit schemes and expecting staff to be incentivised and motivated, staff should be asked what their individual needs are and the type of benefits they would value the most.
“Employees will only engage in schemes that have direct benefit to them,” says Strong. “Take-up of each benefit is going to vary according to the product or service on offer. For example, employees who are also parents are the only ones that benefit from childcare vouchers.”
Dividing employees into similar demographics for the purposes of employee benefits provision – those under 30, those with children and mature employees, for example – will make it easier for employers to provide staff with a much more meaningful employee benefits programme, Strong continues.
In fact, writing in The Huffington Post, Strong cites a recent industry study across financial and professional service organisations which found that the highest take-up of an employee benefit was travel insurance at 33%, compared with the lowest take-up – gym membership at 0.5%.
“The key is to understand what employees want and then educate employees about each benefit and the value of different schemes,” he adds.
Manesh Patel, Senior Consultant at Aon Employee Benefits agrees: “Successful schemes are those where the employer thinks of communications as the main part of their scheme and not an afterthought,” he says. “It’s also important to ensure that such communications are articulated to staff in a relevant and appropriate way.”
He adds: “Generic communications are cheap and can be effective, but targeted communications based on location, profile and life stage achieve a much higher response and engagement rate. It demonstrates to staff that the business is thinking about them as a person and providing a benefit suitable for them. Employees value one-to-one sessions and targeted communications much more than the traditional method of top-down communications.”
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