It takes time and effort to put together an employee benefits package that meets the needs of a diverse workforce, and incentivises and rewards their hard work. But it's a waste of resources if your employees aren't aware of the benefits available to them, or don't understand their options.
In a new for survey GRiD, the industry body for group risk, over a third (35%) of employees said their company doesn't communicate benefits or they don't remember if it does.
So, how can you improve your communication about the benefits on offer?
The most effective communication strategies are those that are regular, says GRiD. Benefits don't always resonate with employees if they don't seem relevant at a particular point in time. However, people's life stages and circumstances change and benefits that weren't relevant one day, may very well be the next.
"We see people at some of the most vulnerable stages in their life in our industry: at times of ill-health, disability and bereavement. Circumstances that by their nature are often unforeseen. This is exactly why benefits that support such situations need to be communicated regularly, so they are front of mind when they are needed," explained Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD.
Almost two in five (38%) employers communicate details of their benefits when there's a change to the terms and conditions of a particular benefit. Another 29% communicate benefits at recruitment stage, 26% do so at least quarterly and 22% at performance reviews, while 21% communicate benefits once a year and 8% admit they don't communicate benefits to their employees at all.
By far the most common method for communicating benefits is in a staff welcome pack (38%). Other methods include a staff handbook, the job advert or offer letter, staff noticeboard, company intranet, and benefit platform or app.
Interestingly, however, there is a disconnect between how employers communicate and what employees remember -- highlighting the need for regular communication and using a variety of methods for communications to be effective.
And remember that different methods will resonate better with different employees. For example, some will diligently read their welcome pack or staff handbook, while others will be more likely to engage with the company intranet and other digital methods.
"These findings are particularly pertinent given new legislation which came into force 6 April this year requiring employers to inform employees about their employment and benefits on day one or on request," Moxham said.
"But, in addition to complying with this, to increase engagement and for benefits to be utilised, they need to be understood, to which communication is central. Whether we're talking about pensions, healthcare, employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection or critical illness, the approach needs to be the same. Employers need to tell their workforce what they're offered, communicate via as many means as possible, and do so regularly."
At Fidelius, we create employee benefits solutions that are tailored to your needs. And we'll help you make sure that your employees understand and value their benefits by improving engagement through effective communication. Get in touch today to find out more.