Exclusive: 34% of employers say staff not aware of or do not understand benefits

staff not aware benefitsOne-third (34%) of employers admitted that their staff are not aware of or do not understand the benefits they are offered, according to new research conducted by Group Risk Development (Grid).

The industry body for the group risk sector surveyed 500 HR decision-makers at UK businesses and 1,210 employees, and found that only 44% of employees have a good understanding of the health and wellbeing benefits available to them.

More than three-quarters (78%) actively encourage staff to use the benefits they provide, while 18% leave it to employees to initiate the take-up of benefits themselves.

The most popular way to communicate employee benefits was found to be in a staff welcome pack (35%), followed by on day one of employment (33%). Meanwhile, 31% of employers prefer to communicate benefits in the staff handbook, 29% choose staff noticeboards and 29% opt for email campaigns. More than one-quarter (28%) prefer to use the organisation’s intranet, and 26% use support from advisers or providers to run online or in person promotional days.

In the next 12 months, 39% will increase encouragement to use available benefits and 36% will put more emphasis on support for all areas of health and wellbeing, including mental, financial, physical and social. One-third (34%) will increase the amount of communication and 31% will increase their investment in this area.

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Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “It’s important to remember that an organisation’s workforce is not a static entity: new people are appointed, some leave, people return from absence, and so even those employers who feel they are doing well cannot rest on their laurels. It’s important to continually improve communication, so that all employees know how to access and utilise employee benefits if they need them, because only then will benefits be truly valued and appreciated.

“Whether a member of staff chooses to engage or not, all employees will feel better disposed and more loyal to an organisation when it is proactive about the support it offers. Communication of employee benefits is key.”