• Employee Benefits: Measure, learn and adapt

    By Alan Fergusson, Managing Director, Beneficia

    Going back to the CIPD Reward Management- Focus on Employee Benefits Survey (in conjunction with LCP- https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/reward-management-infographic2018_tcm18-51566.pdf) at the end of 2018 , I was reminded of a statistic within there the other day when reading another article.

    The subsequent article which I shared on Linkedin was about The Gym Group who had launched a well-known discount and savings platform to their 700 staff and observed a saving of £100,000 over the period of the 3-year contract. That’s brilliant, very simple and something that could be reduced to a per employee number. If you then communicate back to the employees that they all should have saved £142 during that period, and you haven’t, you’re not going to ignore it for long are you!

    Apart from the obvious engagement that this points to, in this world of financial wellbeing and overall wellness, these are actual and real savings to employees, making a real difference in pounds and pence in the pocket- I think something that the many different discount platforms that are available, tend not to promote with the management information that is available to their clients. Is it a lack of promotion, or is it a lack of interest from employers?

    In that CIPD survey, it was shown that on average only 1 in 4 employers review the impact of staff benefits on individuals within the business. So, let’s go to the hassle and cost of launching or changing your benefit structure and then not really know whether it has worked or not? Doesn’t really make sense does it.

    There are all sorts of measures that you can use that the existing data will produce for you, not all of these are relevant for everyone and I’m not about to give a blanket answer to the issue, it will all depend on culture, the actual benefits themselves, and critically the adoption of technology within the context of the benefits structure.

    You don’t need to measure everything, you don’t need to think up new ways on intangibles, as if like 75% of employers you do nothing anyway, then clearly there is room to start with something. Continually we talk about getting to the start line, not thinking about the issue and its enormity and deciding that nothing can be done.

    Much of this is about engaging closely with those that actually hold the data, the providers of the benefits themselves. Having a closer relationship with them will stand you in good stead to understand what they can produce and how easy it is to get the information.

    For example, if you have a defined contribution pension scheme, the provider will know how many individuals have been registered online, how many have gone through a financial education course, or have clicked on a video. This helps you shape the messaging to employees, allows you to tailor your communication and if a particular initiative has been successful, share that with the employees and create a buzz around it. Imagine if as part of a financial wellbeing programme you saw an increase in contributions across 20% of the workforce- maybe a stretch but just imagine!

    On health and wellbeing, clearly the absence records that you have are a starting point as well as the usage on the plans that you have insured. What are the claims on the medical insurance for, sometimes if you are a smaller employer you can’t get that information from that source? Have you noticed an increase in your Health Cash Plan usage or Employee Assistance Programme? 

    All these things are learning points which allow you to be in control of what you do next. Asking employees is always a great idea, as thinking you know the answer is never as good as hearing it from the very people you are looking to benefit.

    Simply concentrating on a benefit, doing some targeted communication around it, having a measure to the success of that, and then reporting on it will help you shape and adapt your benefits offering.

    As well as increased engagement on the benefits, you will almost inevitably save money or at the very least start spending it in areas that are more meaningful. The message is, don’t do what you have always done, because you have always done it.

    There clearly is not enough measurement going on, in my opinion because far too many brokers focus on just that, broking. The sort of insight that we are talking about comes from having the right sort of resource internally or the right sort of consultancy that acts like that internal resource. At beneficia, we do exactly that. Let’s measure that 75% and try and see it come down!

    For more insights from Beneficia, visit www.beneficia.net

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