5 key questions to maximise value from benefits – Part 2
Today we'll answer the final 3 key questions, including quantifying the value of a particular benefit to your employees, how to benchmark your offering against competitors, and finally how to maximise ROI with effective communications.
3. What is valued by employees?
Next you need to understand what is actually valued by your employees. Many companies provide benefits simply because they are offered by other companies, but without particular thought to whether or not they work for their employees.
An easy way to gauge this is to simply look at take-up rates of benefits. How many people have filled out that private medical insurance? How many calls a year does your employee assistance programme receive? If it isn’t being used then is it worth the cost just to have it on your list of benefits?
The other way to find out what your employees value is simply to ask. Many companies seem reluctant to engage with employees about benefits, but take the time to sit down with some employees and ask what they think of their benefits. You’ll soon hear which they like the most, which they don’t, and which they’ve never heard of!
4. How does it compare to the market?
For the majority of ‘standard’ benefits, i.e. holiday, sickness, pension, medical benefits, etc. there are a number of places you can find benchmarking information about typical practice. Understanding how your benefits compare in the market gives you insight as to where you might need to invest, and what you should promote. If you have a benefit which is at the top of the market, then make sure you have it front and centre, and your employees know about it.
Do take the time to think about how you compare to the market though. Think about your employee profile and what they value; if you’ve got a lot of employees at the age to start families, you can look to the upper quartile of maternity and paternity pay to demonstrate that you support them and provide a benefit which they will use and value.
It’s difficult to benchmark anything which isn’t standard, so for some things you’ll need to consider what you’re doing and what impact it might have. Free tea and coffee is great, but do you offer quality tea and coffee or one of those cheap, free vending machines which provide the world’s worst hot drinks? It’s a personal bugbear, and I always wonder why those companies bother, as it comes across as trying to tick a box rather than provide a benefit.
5. How are you communicating this to employees?
The last step, but really the most important, determines whether the time and money spent has been worthwhile. This is the basis on which your benefits stand or fall. If employees don’t know about the benefits you offer, then they cannot value them.
There’s a fine line to follow to avoid overloading your employees, but aim to make regular communications to your employees and talk about benefits. Creative communications strategies can help engage staff with their workplace benefits, whether that’s quirky campaign themes, staff champions or even traditional handwritten letters.
Consider a “Benefit of the Month” mailshot or briefing sessions, e.g. what is Private Medical Insurance, held every quarter. One company puts up posters in its bathroom stalls to take advantage of a captive audience!
Once you’ve answered these five questions you can turn your benefits offering from an afterthought to a valued part of your employee’s company package. If you would like help in making the most of your benefits package, then email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3457 0894.