How to adapt flexible benefits technology for a remote and hybrid working world
As the world around us changes, many of my peers are entering a new world of hybrid, or even fully remote, work, yet they still have the same (lack of) technology when it comes to their working life, particularly when it comes to their benefits.
Businesses have no choice but to adapt to the world we’re in, or they’ll be left behind when it comes to attracting and retaining top candidates. To move forward, rather than backwards, employee benefits technology needs to be able to follow employees, no matter where they are.
Getting the right benefits strategy in place starts with a comprehensive understanding of how employees engage with and have awareness of their existing benefits.
There are a few core elements that each benefits programme introduced should include:
|1. They should be centralised|
|2. They should be aligned to employee demographics|
|3. They should be flexible|
|4. They should be personalised|
They should be centralised. The best benefits are no good if employees can't find them or employers can't easily administer them. By having benefits centrally located in one place, it will logically lead to higher engagement and usage, proving the ROI of investments in an easy way. When enrollment is simple to understand, that’s even better.
In a 2020 Reward Gateway survey, 42% of 751 HR leaders in the U.S., UK and Australia agreed that the pandemic has increased the importance of doing more with less time, money and resources by streamlining technology.
I speak to many clients who have had to implement different systems to support a variety of benefits management programmes. Unfortunately, the result is often additional costs and lower engagement.
Having a platform that not only captures benefits applications but also allows your employees to spend recognition points or buy a voucher for their favourite coffee shop is cost-effective for a business and a better overall experience for your employees.
Couple this with some really smart survey technology and you have something that not only captures data but captures the feeling of your people too.
They should be aligned to employee demographics. Workforces have never consisted of just one demographic, and so historically it’s been difficult to cater to a diverse population of people who are at different stages of their careers and in their lives. To help, organisations should consider benefits that align with all stages of the employee lifecycle – what would baby boomers be interested in, versus Gen-Xers or millennials? When evaluating benefits, consider that a benefit that reaches the broadest demographic, such as an employee discounts programme, is a win-win for employees and for employers.
They should be flexible. A one-size fits all approach to benefits won’t result in engaged employees – benefits that can flex and change as your workforce evolves is critical for businesses to keep up with the changing needs of their employees. Being able to add and remove benefits quickly and easily in one benefits portal can make or break the levels of engagement companies see from their people.
They should be personalised. The benefits process needs to be easy, personalised and intuitive. Technology can massively help in this area, using its power to develop a personal user experience for each individual employee, alerting employees on what benefits are right for them based on life events and what they’ve already engaged with.
Aligning benefits needs with today’s employees
What we need today are benefits to follow our employees and make them simple to engage with – benefits technology needs to be adaptive to the point where employees can be in the office, log on to their benefits portal, read about and add those benefits to their basket quickly and easily. But just as important, employees need to be able to pick up that experience where they left off if they’re due to leave the office, and continue that experience on their mobile device while they’re out walking my dog, or have a few minutes to themselves late at night.
Everything today is becoming more personalised, and technology-driven, and our benefits strategies have to keep up with the demand that our employees - particularly our millennials or Gen-Z – are creating around the experiences they’re already used to.
Our benefits today need to mirror where employees are in their different stages of life and what may be important to them, and the right benefits technology can deliver a personalised experience that keeps pace with the needs of the workplace.
A dynamic employee benefits platform can build upon an employee’s overall benefits engagement by using demographic information to suggest the right kind of benefits or cut down on decision paralysis by tailoring the benefits experience to only serve up what benefits make a meaningful difference in their employees’ lives, such as bespoke PMI schemes, tailored financial wellbeing benefits or mental health pathways.
If you’re looking to build out your flexible benefits programme, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us to learn more.