Employee benefits strategy 

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02 October 2022

Employee benefits are more crucial than ever, so it’s critical you have the right strategy in place to implement and manage them.

Employee benefits empower businesses to attract and retain the very best talent while supporting staff throughout the moments that matter most. As a result of the changing workplace in last few years, businesses have been forced to reevaluate their employee benefits offerings to ensure they are fit for purpose. Business leaders recognise the importance of benefits and technology in improving employee wellbeing, engagement and loyalty, with 56% of employees agreeing that the benefits their employer provides make them feel valued.

There are numerous things to consider when developing a successful employee benefits strategy. For example:

  • A  variety of personalised benefits is needed to meet individual needs
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion must be considered 
  • Technology is critical to delivering employee benefits effectively on a global and local scale
  • Analytics are key for reshaping rewards and benefits

Here we look at ways to build the best employee benefits strategy for your business.

Using analytics to reshape rewards and benefits

Considering  the equivalent of 20% base salary on average is channelled into employee benefits, it’s surprising that this investment still receives little scrutiny. While many functions, such as finance or marketing, have employed analytics for some time, 80% of employers still rely solely on spreadsheets to analyse employee benefits data.

Attempting to effectively gather, standardise and analyse data on thousands of global employees without the effective analytics is impossible. It also makes it more likely that decisions will be made using out-of-date data, or that a single point of failure, will bring the whole system crashing down. Furthermore, it’s difficult to ensure manual systems remain GDPR compliant, leaving organisations open to errors that could lead to huge financial and reputational risk.  

Analytics should underpin every element of your HR and benefits strategy. It is invaluable in tracking changes to employee benefits behaviour for example, enabling organisations to stay agile and keep their offering relevant. For example, as the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic took hold, organisations with this capability were able to track changes.

Within this new context, employers already equipped with analytics capabilities reaped rewards. These HR teams were able to see in near real-time how the fallout from the pandemic impacted their benefits offering and could identify any gaps or successes that appeared. 

This understanding can lead to strategy changes: such as supplementing their wellbeing programmes, with virtual nutrition workshops or cooking classes, for example. Analytics help monitor scheme take-up, enabling HR teams to assess whether their benefits are being used by their workforce and delivering a good return on investment. 

Developing benefits for the remote working era

Beyond managing the immediate people issues presented by the remote working era, teams must make sure they keep a long-term view and do all they can to their keep their best people on board. This hinges on creating an engaging and personalised employee experience, one where development, wellbeing and relevance take priority. 

Four priorities for HR teams in the remote working era

  1. Be clear on your commitment to well-being
    Clearly communicating how employees can access support when working remotely and explaining what’s on offer will help them to feel more appreciated and secure within their organisation.
  2. Kick-start skills
    Providing virtual training sessions and online courses can help to continue — and even advance — employee development, preparing your organisation and employees for the future of work.
  3. Optimise remote working
    Give people the tools and training they need to do their jobs from anywhere and provide benefits that help to optimise this new employee experience. This will help them stay connected to their organisations.
  4. Make the most of data
    Employers will need a steady stream of data on how employees are using their benefits to make sure their offering stays relevant.

Employee benefits and technology trends report 2021/22

Organisations, HR teams and the employee benefits they provide have been repeatedly stress-tested in our evolving world of work. As a result, benefits and the technology used to deliver them have shot up the corporate agenda. Get an in-depth look at the impact this has had on benefits and technology trends.

Using technology to deliver employee benefits on a global scale

Providing a ‘globally consistent employee experience’ has been the number one priority for multinational organisations for the last few years and has now been propelled even higher up the corporate agenda.

The big win from investing in HR technology is that employers have been able to pivot their benefits offering to deal with the unprecedented challenge of keeping employees connected, engaged and supported across the world.

Technology is integral in keeping employees engaged with their benefits, allowing them to view and use them from any location and at any time, delivering real value. This level of flexibility was important pre-pandemic, but it’s become a must-have in today’s highly distributed work environment.

How to create a consistent benefits experience across different markets

  1. Appreciate  and identify local nuances. 
    To get benefits right in any given country, teams have to understand local nuances, local legislation and maintain competitive vendor relationships – amongst a raft of other, complex issues. Without this understanding, there can be a barrier to consistency.
  2. Centralise HR systems.
    This empowers organisations to quickly and securely share, access and analyse employee data across countries, giving them a more accurate overview of their entire global offering.
  3. Use analytics to identify commonalities. 
    Using centralised tools allows HR teams to use the same metrics across locations, identify and share best practice, and update their strategy in response to how well each country or region is performing.
Now more than ever, it’s paramount that employers balance keeping a handle on costs, while ensuring all employees feel a sense of connection and support, which will fundamentally keep them happy and engaged.

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