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Why benefits can fail

Many employers look to promote their employee benefits programmes at the start of the year in a bid to remind staff why they’re a good employer to work for, especially at a time when employees might be thinking about moving on to pastures new. After spending significant time and money on reviewing and implementing options, it can be disheartening when that effort is met with a lacklustre response by staff, and some benefits packages fail to grab the attention of employees.

There are a number of reasons why this may be and the points below highlight what employers should avoid doing when it comes to their employee benefits programme.

Failing to consult employees in advance

When businesses are renewing benefit packages, some of the best results can be had by consulting with employees first about what they’d like to have. Businesses often make assumptions about what employees want, particularly for smaller companies where relationships may be closer, but it’s generally better to ask. Businesses may be surprised to learn what employees really appreciate, which can really vary from person to person.

Lack of communication

When a new benefits package is in place, the temptation can be to give employees access to all the information at once and leave them to look through it at their leisure; however, this can lead to information overload, with new benefits not utilised as a result. Gradually introducing benefits or regular updates on them throughout the year can help keep benefits alive and encourage utilisation. Professional presentations can also help in this regard.

Making aged-based assumptions

Making assumptions about what your employees want can serve to alienate them from benefits altogether. While having a general overview of the demographics of an organisation is important, relying on age generalisations within this should be avoided. Instead, understanding what your demographic would like to see from a benefits programme can often be much more valuable, and help employees relate to what’s on offer.

Distributing complex communications

Employees are going to struggle to engage with a benefits package that comes with a hefty user manual. It’s better to keep information about benefits, and accessing them, simple and informative. Employees are much more likely to engage with benefits that are easy to use and understand; anything else risks feeling more hassle than it's worth. Simple, clear, plain-English information about what the benefit is, and how to access it, is a great place to start.

Not being compatible with technology

There are various technologies that enhance employee benefits; businesses don’t have to have the latest gadget, but online benefit platforms that meet today’s expectations can greatly improve uptake. Technology enables employees to utilise benefits on their terms, which could be during a work commute or downtime at the weekend, giving them flexibility to engage with benefits when they want to. Making Total Reward Statements available online as well can create a simple visual that details all benefits employees are entitled to -- on top of their salary -- making it an important engagement and retention tool.

As we’ve previously highlighted, employee benefits play an important role in the recruitment and retention of staff. However, by making a few simple mistakes, businesses may find that the benefits they are paying for are not providing value to the business.

Fidelius is experienced not only in designing employee benefit programmes, but also communicating these benefits to employees, ensuring that they both appreciate and engage with what is being provided. If you are looking to understand how your employees could better engage with your benefits package, then please feel free to contact us to discuss this in more detail.

Posted on February 10th 2020

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