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4 min read

Making employee benefits available to your employees is a great first step. But unfortunately it's not enough. People are busy, their email inboxes are full and they see hundreds of advertising and marketing messages every day. If you don't take extra careful steps to make employee benefits easily accessible and clearly and attractively explained then you'll have a nice set of benefits with minimal employee take-up.

Poor take-up in existing employee benefits is the key issue that many employers are faced with. It means they've gone to all of the trouble of finding, procuring and installing these benefits, but have none of the benefit themselves. Employee benefits without take-up simply might as well not be there.

Step 1: Make them accessible

The employee benefits industry is fragmented, it's a real industry issue. Providers tend to practice exclusively and fulfil niches, which means an employee benefits portfolio of half a dozen benefits can have half a dozen suppliers. That means six different companies, six different brands, six different websites, six different helpdesks, six different ways of explaining things - quite a mess. And it makes no sense to your employees. They rightly expect this to be your employee benefit program. They don't understand (nor should they have to) why they need to use and apply for these benefits in six different ways - its just too confusing.

Putting links on the Intranet often doesn't cut it. Intranets are often tricky to access from home and that's where most employees are when they want to discuss benefits with a spouse or partner and make choices. Can your intranet be accessed easily from a smartphone or iPhone? Thats what you'll need to make it work for many of your staff, especially those who aren't at a PC during the working day.

You need to be able to explain and catalogue all of the employee benefits in one place, and make it look great and readable on a PC, a tablet and a smartphone. Making it appealing is essential to get through to all of your staff, as many of them will look at benefits in their dead time - when they're waiting for a bus, travelling on the train or not at their desk.

Step 2: Make them understandable

A good number of employee benefits are provided or supplied by companies from the financial services industry. We all hope they do a great job looking after the money side but they often don’t do the best job in keeping the language simple and making them understandable. Almost always they'll have the same information available to all of their clients with no tailoring or respect for the audience. You want to have the language written exactly in a way which is right for your workforce and use examples and case studies that are completely tailored to you. That makes your benefits much more understandable.

Step 3: Get people there. That needs some secret sauce!

All this won't be any good if no-one sees it, so we need to get your employees to your benefits hub on a regular basis so that over time, they understand your whole reward and employee benefit proposition. Sending out emails or putting up posters is only marginally effective, we need a reason for them to go. That's where employee discounts come in.

Employee shopping discounts are the secret sauce that you should use to get your employees to your employee benefits hub on a daily and weekly basis. Shopping discounts are accessible, universal and easy to understand. Everyone goes shopping and no-one wants to spend more than they need to, so they're a great way of teasing people in to your bigger and wider benefits proposition.

But it's critical here that the discount portal has high integrity and is real. If the discounts aren't genuine, if they can be easily got elsewhere or are filled with too many terms and conditions then they'll have the opposite effect - your employees will be disappointed and let down and this creates bad feeling that will tarnish their perception of your entire benefits portfolio. So it's critical to use a discount service that is genuinely supplier independent, puts all of the retail commission and income back to the benefit of the employees and stands head and shoulders above discount hubs accessible elsewhere. if you do that, it will be the easy-to-use standout beacon of your benefits plan that will bring employees back day after day to see your entire employee benefit proposition.

So that's it - three easy steps and a simple hub to drive employee engagement.

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