When it comes to employee benefits, the good news is that the number of benefits we provide to our employees has increased, and the bad news is that the number of benefits we provide to our employees has increased. What I mean by this is that although it’s been wonderful to be able to increase our benefits offerings, it also makes it challenging for both our employees and for us – challenging for our employees to understand and use them, and challenging for us to manage and maintain.
Technology has been integral in helping us keep pace with the changes and challenges in this area, doing so in a variety of meaningful and effective ways. Here are four of these:
1. Brings benefit programs together
The most common excuse I’ve heard employees use for why they haven’t signed up for a benefit program is that they can’t find information on it. And do you know what, they’re right! It shouldn’t be a treasure hunt, it should be a simple ‘open the door’ process.
Technology has helped us overcome this problem by enabling us to bring our benefit programs together under one platform so that employees can easily see what they are, and appreciate and engage with them. By bringing them together, you overcome the challenge of employees not being able to find your lovely benefit ‘treasures.’
2. Boosts benefits takeup (and ROI!)
The second most common excuse I’ve heard from employees on why they haven’t signed up for benefit programs is that they couldn’t figure out how to do so. And again, I’m not surprised since we not only make it difficult and confusing, but employees often misplace or lose the paperwork that we gave them when they joined the company.
When employees have to jump through hoops to get to their benefits, we really are closing the door on the opportunity for them to see all their company has to offer.
Technology has again helped us overcome this problem as employees can enrol online in their own time, not having to hunt around for forms they may have received weeks, months or years ago. We can also make the process easier and more straightforward, using technology to streamline the process. Features such as single-sign-on can help with this, providing one way for employees to access everything at once, straight from their smartphones, meaning they’ll be more likely to engage with employee benefits in everyday situations.
3. Develops a personal user experience
Once an employee signs up for a benefit, their engagement story shouldn’t end. To improve the employee experience even more, the process for discovering how to make the most of their benefits needs to be easy, personalised and intuitive.
Technology can massively help in this area, using its power to develop a personalised, relevant user experience for each individual employee. Similar to how companies like Netflix continually push new shows and movies to you based on your previous selections and thus what they believe would interest you, technology can do this with your benefit programs, alerting your employees on what employee discounts they can make the most and letting them know when their favourite store has a better deal to take advantage of.
If you’ve got seasonal benefits that are only available at certain times of the year, combining your benefits platform with internal communications technology means you can set up inbox and in-app alerts to remind people when they need to take action. It’s a great way to improve take-up of your offering and keep support front of mind.
4. Gives us the power of real-time reporting
And finally, and another challenge for us in HR, is the need to be able to determine and analyse the effectiveness of all of our lovely benefit programs.
Are they being used, are they meeting the needs of our workforce, or are they merely sitting on the virtual shelf being ignored by our employees?
Simply put, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Technology has helped massively in this area by providing accurate, real-time reporting, giving us on-demand data to help us better drive engagement with programs. Ideally your benefits reporting would have a realtime dashboard showing you program metrics such as page views, employee spend, employee savings, period-on-period metrics, what are your top benefits and more.
For example, is there one location that hasn’t signed up for a benefit and thus you should target communication with them? Has a communication campaign received massive readership, and thus you’ll use this approach again?
You can even use reporting to enhance the employee experience and get them excited about what they’re receiving (it really is satisfying seeing your Savings balance increase in the My Account section). Data is your secret weapon in the war against under utilisation and disengagement!
As the world continues to change around us, there’s no better time than now to embrace and leverage technology, helping us overcome obstacles, move faster, and deliver what we need to our people and the business. I hope this series has helped you on your way to digitally transform your business into one that is fit for the future.