Although Workplace Pensions have dominated the world of employee benefits over the last 5 years, employers are still encouraged to regularly review and refresh their benefits package to ensure the offering remains both attractive and relevant to employees. So how can benefits be delivered in the most positive way, whilst also avoiding the common mistakes that cause badly managed promotions?
There are a number of different areas to consider for any company reviewing its employee benefits package, whether this is in relation to existing benefits in place, or introducing a new arrangement; some of these are listed below.
The demographics of your business could be heavily weighted in a certain area, meaning some benefits may be appreciated more than others. For example, younger employees may prefer a Health Cash Plan compared to older employees, who may prefer full Private Medical Insurance. Higher earners might want to maximise pension contributions to take advantage of tax savings, whilst those with young families may prioritise Life Assurance or Income Protection. Employee Surveys will tell you what is important to your staff which will ensure that the cost of a new benefit is going to be highly valued by the staff.
When you have decided what to provide, timing the introduction well is essential. It’s key to avoid periods when high numbers of employees are on leave (e.g. summer holidays/Christmas) and/or when business pressures mean your workforce is unlikely to acknowledge the impact. It is also best to avoid clashes with other business changes, when the positive introduction of a new benefit could be overlooked. So carefully consider when is the best time to announce any changes, to achieve maximum positive engagement from your employees.
You must ensure that communications are managed properly and work well to support your key message and the smooth running of the improved benefits package. Whether this is done via letter, benefit guides, e-mail or intranet, any new systems introduced should be made completely clear so your staff understand what is being made available. Employee benefits form part of the remuneration package offered so make sure your employees know when they are getting something extra!
Whether managed by you as the employer, the policy insurer/provider, or your outsourced employee benefit consultant, once in place the new benefit should be clearly promoted and communicated to employees. Training for managers is advisable so they fully understand the benefits on offer and can explain them positively. It’s essential that employees know who they can speak to if they have any queries, or require any assistance, when using this new benefit to ensure it’s effectiveness.
Your new employee benefit may be suitable, introduced at the right time and include expert delivery and support – but will it always do what you set out to achieve? Considering your workforce may change, or even forget what is available or how to use it, we recommend employers:
- Undertake annual reviews to ensure the benefit remains relevant and cost effective in the market
- Provide regular updates and notifications to staff to keep everyone engaged
- Ensure the benefit continues to be valued by your staff usually best achieved via employee surveys or review meetings
Unless they are contractual there is nothing stopping employer replacing one employee benefit with another for any number of reasons – you just need to consider what is in the best interests’ of your workforce before doing so.
If you are considering providing a new employee benefit or restructure of existing benefits and would like further information on how we can help ensure a successful implementation please contact the team on 01883 332260.
Jon is one of our team of Employee Benefit Advisers.