Putting Employee Benefit Packages at the Heart of your Business Culture
Employee benefits packages – particularly those that offer financial security, such as private medical insurance or income protection – are proven to have a positive impact on employee attitudes thus greatly improving staff retention.
Research clearly shows, however, that organisations need to communicate these benefits effectively in order to see a meaningful impact on staff satisfaction and loyalty.1 Unum’s ‘Workplace Communication Blueprint’ report suggests employers take several steps to ensure that benefits form a key part of the business culture.
1. Go back to basics
Directors, owners and HR managers should know what they want to achieve from the communication of benefits; for example, improved engagement, retention and productivity. They should also survey employees’ awareness, understanding and usage of benefits, as well as their demand for them. Employers should consider how they can talk about workplace benefits at key times for employees. These conversations could take place during the recruitment process and at inductions; but, also, when staff become home-owners, get married and have children.
2. Know your audience
It’s vital that employers understand their employees in the same way they would their customers.2 For example: Can you group your employees by age? How many have dependents? Are they office-based or are they remote workers? What common issues do they have? By going through this process, employers can build up a better picture of their workforce and understand what benefits might be appropriate to them.
3. Think external, act internal
Benefits should be thought of in terms of their impact on employees, and should be based on genuine consultation. Unum suggests that companies talk to their employees as they would customers or clients; and that they work with both the HR and Marketing staff alongside benefits providers to create the best and most effective messages. Bear in mind that the level of communication needed for each benefit will differ. Some of the more complex benefits, like a workplace pension, may need more explanation than some others, such as gym membership. Above all, be honest. If it’s not possible to introduce a particular benefit that has been requested then explain why not.
4. Don’t just communicate with employees; engage with them
The communication of benefits plays a fundamental role not just in telling people what’s on offer, but in involving the workforce in the process. Even if organisations don’t have the budget for an extravagant benefits offering, giving employees a say in their benefits package is effective in boosting engagement and take-up rates. The report suggests that businesses take time to ensure that the people delivering the employee benefits message are educated about the benefits offering and how each one could benefit employees. The timing of communication is important too. It may sound obvious, but making sure that benefits communications don’t coincide with other important communications – organisational changes, for example – is crucial.
5. Create social norms
Finally, it is important to enable a culture in which talking about, signing up for and measuring benefits is typical behaviour. Employers should focus on providing education and guidance about benefits and on ensuring that information is easily accessible. Measuring increases in benefits take-up or reductions in absenteeism, turnover, productivity etc. will help you make decisions on the effectiveness of the benefits offering.
Many companies find it beneficial to discuss their employee benefit packages with a professional financial adviser. For advice and assistance with this, please contact us or visit our website to arrange a no obligation consultation.
Based in Exeter, Fowler Financial Planning provides financial advice to individuals and SMEs in the local area, across the South West and in London. With an ever-changing environment and changing client circumstances, we feel it is essential to develop bespoke financial plans for clients to help them achieve their goals and, more importantly, to review these plans regularly to ensure they remain current and accurate. Fowler Financial Planning is a Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc.
To find out more about Fowler Financial Planning, visit their website.