Is there an app for that? - Five ways technology is improving employee benefits delivery
While the core principles of benefit provision remain reasonably constant – to help recruit, retain, motivate, protect and reward people – the days where holidays, cars and pensions were the only real topic of conversation are long gone.
Technology is the driver of the more rapid changes seen in the last 5-10 years. It means that employees have better access to a wider range of benefits than ever before, and these perks now make up a key part of the employee deal.
To find out why, here are 5 examples of how technology has influenced the design and delivery of EB programmes.
Life doesn’t happen in compartments any more – and employers have recognised that employees need to be able to access their benefits anywhere and at any time.
So whether it’s taking advantage of the latest retail discounts online, checking pension details on the train, or even monitoring their fitness levels on a wearable device, technology allows employees to integrate their benefits seamlessly into their life... to the point where it no longer even seems surprising.
In the past, there was often a certain rigidity about the benefits on offer and in some cases that rigidity even served as a disincentive for employees to join or stay with a particular organisation.
Both employer and employee gained from the advent of more flexibility in the market. For the employer, being able to provide things that matter to people; and for the employee, to decide how to divide up their ‘pot’ to better meet their personal needs.
The admin burden of trying to manage different benefit offerings to different groups has always been a massive HR headache. Whether by geography, discipline or job level the opportunity for mistakes, confusion and ultimately disengagement is higher where there are multiple schemes on offer.
Technology though allows an employer to ‘zone’ or ‘profile’ employee groups in any way necessary and ensures precise benefit provision without too much admin oversight.
Any benefit platform these days should be able to leverage the power of 21st century communication methods and deliver accurate, timely and relevant comms direct to an employee’s inbox or device. Building on in-built notification technology within the main operating systems and apps can make an EB programme feel much more embedded in an employee’s day to day life, thereby increasing that sense of engagement and relevance.
And for remote or mobile workers who might historically have been excluded altogether from any meaningful communications, the integration of communication processes into a platform allows employers to truly ‘connect the unconnected’ in a way that would have been impossible even 5 years ago.
5. All in one place
Perhaps the most undervalued yet useful innovation in employee benefits is the ability for providers and employers to use technology to deliver a ‘hub’ type approach. Pulling all the strands of the benefit offering together, potentially using many different collaborative partners all under one ‘brand’, and in an easy to access and navigate format, has been a game changer.
Now it’s possible for employees to have access to ‘best of breed’ services from whatever is out there. From a world-class EAP, through health and financial wellbeing from real specialist providers to the simplest retail or cinema discounts, the employee can have it all in one place, 24/7.
Of course there are some challenges too with any technology driven service;
- some employers will deploy something rather than nothing without trying too hard to find out if it’s what their employees want and value. But that practice has been around well before technology was the enabler of service delivery;
- and yes, sometimes there are issues of complexity or challenges with integration into other HR systems;
- and yes, the sheer number of providers out there can make partner selection a bewildering exercise.
But on the whole, technology in this space is a good thing – making choice broader and more relevant for employees, and delivery a much easier task for the employer.
And with the ongoing developments around things like geolocation and push notification technology, AI and gamification to name a few it’s clear that technology is set to play an ever more important role in the employee benefit world as we head into the third decade of the 21st century.
Looking to refresh your benefits offering or wider engagement strategy? Innecto can help. Give us a call on 020 3457 0894 or email Andrew.email@example.com