How to drive benefits value using data


As an employer, benefits are likely to be one of the biggest costs for your business, with benefit spend often representing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds. Ensuring these benefits represent value for your business, and importantly your people, is therefore essential.

How to drive benefits value using data

In order to ensure your benefits are delivering the best value, there are essentially two ways to approach carrying out a benefits review and driving awareness and engagement. Both approaches need data to make evidence-based decisions.

Let’s have a look at each approach in more detail.

Using data to conduct a benefits review

For many, reviewing your employee benefits can be a bit like renewing your car insurance. You provide the same details as last year, get a range of providers to quote and then go with the cheapest. That’s if they are reviewed at all; many schemes continue to be placed with the same provider year after year. However, there should be more to reviewing employee benefits than this, especially with modern technology giving HR access to more streamlined and interlinked data sets than ever before.

Accessing information about the performance of your benefit schemes has never been easier, and if your HR team is lucky enough to have all your employee data on a benefits platform, you’ll have access to more people-led data. For those without a platform, you could either ask your benefits consultant to run the analysis for you, or pull all the data together yourself using spreadsheets and charting software.

Once you’ve got a holistic picture of all your benefits to ensure they’re running smoothly, you can start to monitor their performance, usage and costs. It's these three components that will allow you to constantly check that your benefits remain in line with your business strategy and delivering real value for your people.                                                             

When conducting a review of your benefits, here are a few things to look for:

  • Identify the level of usage for each benefit you offer. Are there certain benefits that are really popular? What do you think it is about these benefits that work well for your workforce?
  • Are extra add-ons being used? E.g. Virtual GP, EAP or discount sites.
  • What pages on your benefits microsite or benefits platform are getting the least traffic?
  • Identify all your renewal dates. It may be a good idea to align these so you can review all benefits at the same time in the future.
  • If you have a benefits platform, is there a trend in benefits that people add to their basket but never go ahead and purchase?
  • Look at the levels of premium you’re paying for each benefit? Explore different ways to adjust the level of premiums you pay. Each scheme will have different levels of cover that can be changed if not utilised, or if the premium is becoming expensive, and potentially unsustainable.

If you do highlight benefits that are underused or undervalued

Don’t be afraid to make changes. By analysing benefits that aren’t utilised, you’ll be able to concentrate your spend on benefits that employees engage with and value. When it comes to these undervalued benefits, there are two options:

  1. You can cease to provide the benefits that aren’t as valued.
  2. You can send concentrated communications to your people, educating them and helping them understand these benefits. They may only be undervalued because they are less known about among your workforce.

 Using data to drive awareness and engagement

Before you start communicating with your people, make sure what you offer is relevant to the individual you’re trying to engage with. Here are a few questions you should consider:

  • Who are you trying to communicate with?
  • What issues are they facing?
  • How can the benefit you’re promoting help them?
  • What is the best channel to reach them?

These four questions should form the basis of any engagement project you’re undertaking, and they all revolve around having access to data. Without a true picture of your people, it will certainly be difficult to personalise your communications, and you may find yourself sending a blanket email to all. Keep doing this and you’ll soon start to see your engagement figures drop, which could result in your benefits being undervalued in the long run.

The key to enhancing the relationship between you, your people and their rewards and benefits will be through the use of technology and meaningful, real-time data. The most powerful tools are those that facilitate communication. They can create an interface between your business and your employees, and offer great scope when it comes to delivering your communications.

A proven way to keep your people engaged is to use key data trigger points to send your communications

Keeping communications regular and relevant can be hard when there is no new content to share. Consider drawing data from your HR, payroll and pension administration systems; try to identify key moments in each person’s working lifecycle. By doing this you can then issue individually targeted communications, based on your employees’ personal circumstances.

If you can identify key moments in your peoples’ work-lifecycle, technology can help you deliver a personal message focussed on how the benefits you offer can support them in that moment. Not only will this give them a call to action at a relevant time, it also demonstrates a personalised approach.

Data trigger points might include...

  • Birthday
  • Job role changes (e.g. promotion)
  • Pension scheme anniversaries (e.g. “you’ve been in the pension scheme 5 years”)
  • Workplace anniversaries (e.g. “you have been with the company for 10 years”)
  • Life event (e.g. marriage, parental leave)
  • Approaching retirement (e.g. you’re 10 years away from retirement)
  • Approaching annual allowance limits. 

Summary

We spend so much time focussing on data that represents our customers; what they’re doing, what they’re buying, how much they’re spending, that we sometimes lose sight of one of the most important parts of our organisation; our people. Having access to data about your people; their wants, needs and current situations can help your HR teams and business leaders gather the evidence they need to make better informed decisions on your benefits strategy.

This article is provided by Johnson Fleming.


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