EXCLUSIVE: 28% of employees do not understand the benefits available to them

Just over a quarter (28%) of employers believe that their employees do not fully understand the benefits that are available to them, according to research by industry body Grid.

In survey of 1,675 HR decision makers and employees also found that 10% of employers believe their workforce is only aware of some, and not all, of their benefits.

When it comes to making employees aware of what benefits are on offer, just over a quarter of organisations (26%) send out a form of communication quarterly, 21% communicate benefits once a year and just over one-third (38%) of employers communicate details of their benefits when there is a change to the terms and conditions of a particular benefit. Additionally, almost one-third (29%) inform new employees of the benefits when they are first employed.

Just 8% of respondents say they never communicate benefits, however, more than one-third (35%) of employees cannot remember seeing any benefits communications from their organisation.

Staff welcome packs are the most popular method of communication with just under two-fifths (38%) of employers giving this to new staff, 29% provide staff handbooks, 25% give employees the information in an offer letter, 25% email benefits details and 19% of organisations give employees access to a staff intranet.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson at Grid, said: “A huge amount of resource, time, energy and money is invested in compiling employee benefits packages. This is maximised when a workforce is aware of the benefits and understands them.

“We see people at some of the most vulnerable stages in their life in our industry: at times of ill-health, disability and bereavement. Circumstances that by their nature are often unforeseen. This is exactly why benefits that support such situations need to be communicated regularly, so they are front of mind when they are needed.

“These findings are particularly pertinent given new legislation, which came into force on 6 April this year requiring employers to inform employees about their employment and benefits on day one or on request. But, in addition to complying with this, to increase engagement and for benefits to be utilised, they need to be understood, to which communication is central. Whether we’re talking about pensions, healthcare, employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection or critical illness, the approach needs to be the same. Employers need to tell their workforce what they’re offered, communicate via as many means as possible, and do so regularly.”