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Six steps to improve your employee benefits strategy

Doug Rice
Doug leads the employee benefits consultancy team at Jelf, specifically focusing on meeting the rising demand for effective UK and international employee benefits management programmes. In addition, he heads up the international Mercer Marsh Benefits team and is Chair of the Jelf & MMB joint venture. Doug has over 20 years’ experience in the employee benefits sector, having previously worked for Medic4all, Cigna and Bupa.

Your people are a business asset, so ensuring you take care of their wellness should be top of your list. Taking a strategic approach to managing your human capital risk can:

  • Reduce organisational disruption and increase operational efficiencies
  • Protect employees and their families from the impact of negative events, such as sickness or death
  • Provide a win-win outcomes for both your employees and your organisation

An effective benefits reward programme can help you achieve this. In fact, firms with engaged employees enjoy 87% less staff turnover and staff take fewer sick days1. So it’s not surprising that 80% of employers rank employee engagement as a top priority2. But employee benefits are far more than just a salary and a pension.

The right programme can help you to:

  • attract new talent to your business;
  • improve the physical, emotional and financial wellness of your staff;
  • motivate, engage and retain your staff; and,
  • drive productivity and make your business money.

So what can you do?

  1. Consider the risks to your business and the type of benefits that can help mitigate these. For example:
    Legal risks - Employee pensions and scheme governance can help you to mitigate your regulatory risks.
    Strategic risks – Employee education through financial education/retirement planning workshops and regular employee communication can help mitigate issues with talent acquisition and employee engagement.
    Gradual risks - Absence management, financial education workshops, private medical insurance can help to mitigate the risk of sick leave and low productivity.• Technical risks – Flexible benefits technology and total reward statements can help mitigate your risks such as cyberattacks.
  2. Review the demographic of your employee population. Your employees will all be on a career journey and depending on where they are, they will value different benefits. Understanding that journey and the employee benefits that can support them, will help to drive engagement and productivity. For example, a Generation X employee will often value security. So group life insurance or income protection that provides peace of mind that they, or their dependants, will be taken care of should appeal to them.employee lifecycle
  3. Benchmark your rewards programme. Reviewing the types of benefits offered by other organisations, especially your competitors will help to understand if you are able to compete to attract and retain your best talent.
  4. Consider the use of technology. Research shows that the largest factor influencing employees’ perception of benefits is convenience, with 68% of employees wanting to access all of their benefits from one single place2. Technology, such as benefits management platforms, can help to maximise your return on investment. It enables you to offer more to your staff with greater control. Giving you the freedom and flexibility to manage your employee benefits securely in one place.
    Benefits to your business – you can manage all of your employee benefits centrally and achieve greater employee engagement to create better value for your business.
    Benefits for your employees – they can better understand, choose and value their benefits by providing a complete view of their benefits and rewards.
  5. Consider how your benefit strategy can complement your commercial insurance programme. Companies with high staff turnover, or a high dependency on agency staff, may find it difficult to ensure that their staff has received a suitable level of training. This can expose them to greater risk and commercial insurance programme cost. By engaging your employees, your staff turnover, and agency staff dependency, can be reduced benefiting the broader insurance programme. As well as boosting employee engagement and business productivity.
  6. Continuously review your benefits reward programme. What MI can you capture to measure the impact and return on investment? Regular reviews of your benefits and their effectiveness will help to ensure that your staff remain motivate and engaged which will drive productivity for your business. Consider how the use of technology could help you to capture this valuable MI and help you to monitor return on investment.

1 Mercer – Why good health is good business
2 Thomsons Online Benefits, UK employee Benefits Watch 2016/17
Marketing communication FP18.580

Article first appeared in FOW Insights 'UK Wellbeing Report 2018/19' 

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