Despite employers investing heavily in employee benefits, 44% of employers admit that their staff are not fully aware of the benefits they offer or don’t fully understand them, according to research from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector.
Research amongst employees corresponds with this viewpoint: only 40% of staff think that their employer is effective in the communication of employee benefits, and over a quarter (26%) say their employer is ‘not effective’.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “A significant amount of time, resources, and financial investment is spent in getting the right benefits in place for staff but they have to be communicated, and communicated effectively, for the full value to be had. This is not only in terms of benefitting the individual themselves but also for the sake of the business too. Without a communication strategy in place, employee benefits will, metaphorically speaking, be gathering dust as they won’t be fully utilised or appreciated.”
According to GRiD’s research, email (37%) is the channel most used by employers to communicate their employee benefits followed by:
- staff welcome pack (36%)
- staff handbook (32%)
- staff noticeboard (29%)
- company intranet (25%)
Measuring staff appreciation of benefits is also important and should be an essential element of a communications strategy. Two fifths (41%) of employers do not measure whether their employees appreciate the employee benefits that they offer and, of those who do measure, less than half (48%) think their staff ‘very much’ appreciate the benefits available to them.
The most popular methods used to garner levels of appreciation amongst staff are a formal staff survey and informal feedback to managers, HR, employee benefits or wellbeing champions (both methods used by 35% of employers)
- suggestion/feedback box (33%)
- email box for employee benefits-related feedback (28%)
- employee benefits forum/focus group/ working group (27%)
Katharine Moxham continued: “Employee benefits are absolutely mission critical for employers in the current climate. We’ve particularly found this with benefits that support people financially, physically and mentally, such as group risk benefits – employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness.
“Employees are seeking an employer who aligns culturally with their values, both on broader issues, but also on a personal work life balance level too. There is no better way to demonstrate how much an organisation truly cares about its employees than via the benefits it provides.
“We know that many organisations have had to double down on their efforts to provide relevant employee benefits in this new era of hybrid working, but all of these endeavours are not as effective as they could be if staff don’t know what employee benefits are available or have insufficient understanding to appreciate them.”