Flexible benefit platforms and solid communications can engage all workforce demographics, comments Ian Rummels, director at PES


Seasonality has been a tradition in employee benefits provision over the years, rewarding employees at Christmas as a form of motivation, but not necessarily communicating with them or enabling them to flexibly select benefits over the course of the year.

If you go back to basics and look at the purpose of employee benefits, their role is to support employees beyond their pay, and to motivate and engage employees to do their best work all year round.

In order for a benefits package to fulfil this role, employers must ensure that their employees are reminded of what their benefits are and the value they bring to the whole employment package. If staff aren’t able to access their benefits all year round, neither they nor their employer will get any value for money. In truth, if your employees aren’t appreciating or engaging with their benefits, it almost defeats the object of offering benefits in the first place.

Communications, as ever, are the key. There are many important elements to a well-valued benefits package; relevance, flexible access and technology all play important roles. However, company spend on any of these is wasted if they’re not properly and regularly communicated in a way that appeals to your workforce.

There is no one answer to how employers should communicate with their staff; different companies have varying demographics, processes and ideas of best practice. However, there are three good, simple, starting points:

  • Examine your communications outside of your benefits offering; what works well and gains the attention of your employees could also be applied to benefit communications.
  • Use the tried and tested employee questionnaire or survey approach, it’s a great way of gaining insight into how your employees really feel, how they want to be communicated with, how often and what they want to know.
  • Ask for voluntary benefit champions; choose ordinary colleagues rather than line managers or senior board members. They can communicate with their peers about how they have tried and tested their benefits. There is no more powerful message about how a benefit can impact on your everyday lifestyle – even better if that comes from a peer.

Beyond engaging communications, the next step in motivating an entire workforce with their benefits is to ensure that your offering is relevant and responds to the needs of both the company goals and the varied employee demographics.

As long as there is sufficient choice to suit the whole workforce, there is no such thing as ‘one core benefit’ that a company should invest in; the flexibility and diversity provided across the benefits package will maximise engagement across the scheme.

Flexible platform technology now enables employers to deliver a diverse range of options and the ability to choose benefits throughout the year, increasing employee interaction. In the past, the price of online delivery of benefits has been out of the reach of small and medium sized businesses, while some of the more traditional benefits, such as health insurances, are harder to get competitive terms for on a flexible basis.

At PES we have worked hard to create an employee and employer friendly platform that demonstrates great value for money and creates a simple way of delivering benefits. It enables small and medium sized employers to implement the less traditional flexible benefits, such as shopping and technology discounts and offers employee access all year round.

Put together, this creates a compelling flexible platform of benefits.

In 2016, we are finding that companies are moving towards flexible benefits to remain competitive when recruiting and retaining staff. From PES’ focus on the small to medium sized employer market, we can see a clear trend of businesses embracing flexible benefits, offered via new technology.

PES is speaking at Reward Live at 14.35 on Wednesday 11 May, at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham. To find out more, CLICK HERE

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