Helen Payne, Strategic Consultant
An employee benefits scheme can have numerous advantages for employers - including talent retention and attraction. But ensuring a good roll out and engagement is crucial.
Employee benefits schemes are not a one size fits all offer. Choosing the right scheme and rolling it out well can be the difference between success and failure. Schemes can produce great results, but employers need to first get the process right to reap those benefits.
The key to starting the process of rolling out a new scheme is planning. You can either do it quickly, or you can do it well, you can't necessarily do both.
At Aon, we have a blueprint for any major change when it comes to benefits. It’s called the four Ds, which stand for discover, develop, deliver and determine.
The principle is to find out what an employer is trying to solve and how exactly we can do that.
The first step is particularly important in this process. Employers need to find out what exactly it is they want to offer. What would their employees benefit from?
This can start by assessing the benefits already available and what’s missing from the offering. Then continue by surveying employees, gathering feedback and focus groups.
Sometimes companies go ad hoc and say, we need some new mental health benefits, for example, because that’s the hot topic of the moment. But if it’s really going to be successful, then it’s important to take the time to get something that you know is relevant to employees.
Employers can spend a considerable amount of time developing a benefits package for their employees. But without using data and asking employees’ opinions, you can’t always be sure that what you’re investing in and creating is going to deliver the results that you want.
Choosing benefits and getting them in place is one challenge, but getting employees to know, understand and engage with the scheme is another.
The delivery is all about communicating well. For this, timing is important. Think of all the other messages that are going on at the same time. For example, if an employer is going through a big company restructuring process and there are some redundancies, that’s probably not the right time to launch. Or at the end of the financial year when everyone is busy.
New benefits often falter because of a rushed launch and rushed comms.
If you tell employees about all these benefits they’re able to access in the first week of employment, it’s probably not going to be on the top of their priorities. It’s a crazy time for anybody. Instead, ongoing communication can increase engagement.
If people don’t take it up in the first instance, think about other times to talk to them about this benefit. For example, is it something for when they hit a milestone birthday, for when they’ve had a family, or perhaps moved house?
But employers should also think about the best methods of communicating. Different channels can be more helpful depending on the benefit and the user. For example, would the benefit be better communicated in a video than briefing pack or face-to-face.
If an employer has gone through these processes of communication and still something is not quite right, there is also scope to adapt the scheme. It doesn’t necessarily mean rip it all up, but it could be a case of gathering more data and developing a slightly different offering that suits your employees or the company more.
The final stage in the four Ds process asks employers to determine whether the benefit is successful or not. It creates space to go back to the initial feedback in the discovery process and assess whether the scheme met the brief.
At Aon, we see the process of rolling out benefits as cyclical and something to be reviewed annually. It can take time to get it perfect, but the benefits are worth it.
For more information or to discuss any of the issues outlined in this article, please get in touch by emailing us at [email protected] or call us on 0344 573 0033.
Aon UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 00210725. Registered Office: The Aon Centre, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4AN.