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Employee benefits: Using technology to unlock engagement
It is often said we live in a digital world, and you’ve only got to look at the numbers to understand why.
The average amount of time each user spends on the internet each day is estimated to have grown to almost seven hours, which means we are digitally connected for the majority of our waking hours.
Further research from the State of Mobile report by App Annie found that four hours of that online time was spent on a mobile phone in 2021 for those in the UK. While this is slightly down on the global average of 4.8 hours, it’s a big rise on the three hours reported in 2019.
This figure underlines how mobile is emerging as the dominant digital platform, particularly among younger generations. Indeed, a third of young adults aged between 25 and 34 only use a smartphone to go online, according to data from communications regulator Ofcom.
Against this backdrop, it’s clear that the role of technology – and the role of mobiles in particular – is key in connecting employers with the workforce of today, and it is only likely to become more significant in the future. Here we look at the ways technology is being harnessed to drive greater engagement with employee benefits.
Equipping employees with valuable digital tools
Auto-enrolment has successfully ensured that the vast majority of employees are saving for their future via a workplace pension. For many, however, the wider notion of managing their personal finances can represent unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory.
Even those with an appetite for improving their financial literacy can face barriers to engagement. This might be something as simple as puzzling terminology or they might just be unsure about where to start. Employers can fill this void through the provision of digital tools, which can be easily accessed online or packaged into a mobile app.
If they are designed in the right way, such tools have the potential to empower employees and encourage a greater sense of financial well-being. They can facilitate access to valuable learning resources or to experts such as independent financial advisors, coaches and mortgage advisors, supporting workers in setting and monitoring personal financial goals for the long term. They can even include the ability for individuals to directly manage their pension.
A point of convergence for communications
Good communication is a fundamental ingredient in employee engagement, and digital channels also present employers with the ability to deliver a direct, regular flow of relevant messages to staff. Intranets, employee portals and internal company apps all offer a centralised platform for staff to access essential information and, in some cases, the ability to interact and discuss matters with managers or peers.
In the case of apps, notifications can act as a ‘secret weapon’ in the battle for greater engagement since they provide a route to deliver messages straight to a user’s mobile home screen whereas with email there is a risk that the same message would get lost amid the noise of a busy inbox.
Using data to your advantage
For employers, digitising the employee benefits process carries a number of advantages. One such example is user data – with the right tracking and permissions in place, digital platforms can generate a wealth of information that can, in turn, throw up highly valuable insights into how staff are engaging with the benefits on offer.
And where it’s possible to integrate employee benefits systems with other systems, such as those for administering pension schemes, employers can access even more comprehensive, multi-layered data on employee engagement levels.
This data not only shows which benefits are most valued, it also sheds light on benefits that are perhaps undervalued or underappreciated. In the wake of the pandemic, when many organisations looked to support staff in new ways, this information can be used to either recalibrate and optimise their offering or to highlight where additional communication might be required to drive greater engagement.
With research showing that more than two-thirds of organisations (69%) would take longer than a week to answer the simple question ‘what is our highest-costing benefit?’, it is clear that getting a good handle on analytics has the potential to enhance efficiency and save costs.
Making it personal
Digitisation also opens the door to a more tailored approach, where employees are automatically presented with information based on either their chosen preferences or the specific benefits that apply to their level of seniority.
Today, where hybrid and remote workforces are increasingly commonplace, this is an example of how technology can not only put benefits right in the palm of employees’ hands, but how it can also minimise the administrative effort for HR teams tasked with keeping on top of this increasingly complex yet crucial area.
The information contained within this communication does not constitute financial advice and is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given in relation to such information. Vintage Corporate or any of its associated representatives shall not be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the content of this communication.
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