Reward Live: Use benefits data like consumer data

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Reward experts should act more like Amazon or their local supermarkets, and use data to meet their employee’s benefits needs, according to Dr Eric Tyree, chief data scientist at Capita.

“Supermarkets know everything about who’s buying from them to the nth degree,” he said. “It’s about time reward experts had more of a consumer-led approach to the provision of perks.”

He argued too many organisations provide benefits that are simply not demanded by staff, and added reward heads must use information about what people actually pick as the basis for providing more.

“We all need to avoid the ‘Pony Problem’,” he said. “Ask a girl if she wants a pony and she’ll always say yes. Staff are not much different when it comes to benefits. Most will invariably said ‘yes’, it would be good to have a benefit, but actual take-up rates can be vastly different.”

Tyree provided data around the provision of insurances benefits. “Staff consistently say they want them – around 35-55% always say this – but when you look at take-up, it’s typically around the 5% mark.” He argued transactional data – what staff actually pick when they have a choice of benefits – is more useful to take advantage of.

In the second half of the presentation, he was joined by Sky’s benefits consultant, John Whitaker. He is spearheading the use of data-driven reward provision and analysis. “We know 70% of our staff are men, yet found 80% of the people taking childcare vouchers were women. This data saw us develop a specific communication campaign to encourage more dads to find out about our childcare offering.”

He added: “Rewards heads don’t have to worry. This is not ‘big data’. All of the things we’re doing do not involve huge databases. It’s just about using data better.”