What Flexible Employee Benefits Do Your Staff Really Want?

What flexible employee benefits do your staff really want? It might seem like a simple question, but research reveals that a significant proportion of employees do not know what benefits are on offer. If that’s the case, how can they assess which ones are right for them?

[Related reading: More Flexible Working Benefits Revealed]

42% Of Staff Aren’t Aware What Employee Benefits They Can Avail

A significant proportion of workers simply don’t know enough about the employee benefits their employer offers, a new study reveals. 

According to the research from Group Risk Development (GRiD), the industry body for the group risk protection sector, 42% of staff simply do not understand or do not know what employee benefits are available to them.

The research revealed that 25% of employees are actually aware of the benefits they can take advantage of, but do not understand them all. Meanwhile, 11% admitted they are aware of some of them, and 6% said they don’t know about or understand any of them.

In terms of which communication channels organisations are using to advertise employee benefits, email is the most popular, utilised by 37% of employers. A further 29% used a staff handbook to convey the same, while a noticeboard (27%), intranet (24%) and an offer letter prior to employment (22%) were all also used. However, sadly, 8% of companies admitted they don’t communicate any employee benefits at all.

What Employees Want…

Employees were also polled as part of the GRiD survey. Interestingly, their preferences as to how benefits are communicated closely mirrored those cited by employers. Indeed, email was the number one preference, cited by 38% of employees. Staff welcome packs were the top choice for 25% of employees, while company intranets were preferred by 22% of employees. 

Furthermore, how organisations communicate employee benefits has changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with 43% saying they have changed their approaches. Positively, nearly 60% have increased their employee benefit communication activity, while just over half (53%) have increased their investment. A further 45% say they have increased their support for wellbeing.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said organisations must clearly communicate what employee benefits are available to staff. She added that companies should utilise a wide range of communication methods to ensure that as many staff as possible are reached, as employees respond differently to various channels, including digital, written and in-person.

“During the pandemic, people looked to their employers for support for health and wellbeing. This was an opportunity for employers to tell their staff about all the benefits they offered, from healthcare and group risk to all the embedded services such as access to virtual GPs and counselling – all the support that people needed and were struggling to get, but could access via their employee benefits.

“This increase in activity to communicate employee benefits will pay dividends and we’d encourage employers to continue with this,” she added.

[Related reading: Most Workers Value Employee Benefits Above Pay]

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The key for employers now is to realise that the employee benefits they perhaps once offered might not be what their workers want today. The events of the past two years have made many staff appreciate what’s really important to them and flexibility has emerged as a significant desire.

By offering flexible employee benefits, companies can not only give their staff what they want, but also highlight how much they care.

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Author: Stephen Hough - Managing Director