How to implement an employee benefits scheme

You can have your employee benefits scheme up and running in no time, with the right planning and preparation. Here are our top tips for making your project swing into life:

1. Set a Clear Vision

Start with a clear vision for why you are implementing the scheme. Gaining executive sponsorship and engaging stakeholders will be more straightforward with a well-articulated vision and return on investment. For example:

  • Is your organisation experiencing rapid growth and you need to quickly hire staff with the right skills, values, and cultural fit?
  • Do you require a defensive strategy to retain the talent you have invested in and your competitive advantage?
  • Or do your employees and candidates expect certain benefits to match competitor offerings?

2. Measure Success

Consider how you will measure success. A vital component of proving the business case and securing budget. Setting a target for improving retention and labour turnover is common, as is attracting suitable candidates or measuring the ‘before and after’ impact on productivity or sales performance.

3. Shortlist Software Providers

When shortlisting potential suppliers and software, have a clear criteria and list of requirements. Can they meet your budget, are they a good cultural fit, do they have experience of working with organisations like yours? Can they advise suitable benefits for your organisation and workforce demographic? Is their software fun and easy to use? (Social media tools we use in our business and personal lives don’t come with a manual and so we now expect software to be intuitive and easy to use!)

4. Create a Project Plan

Once you have selected your software partner, work with them to create a structured project framework. Set milestones, make provisions for dependencies, and have a contingency plan. Draw on the experience from your software partner and seek their advice and guidance on implementing employee benefits schemes in similar organisations. Typical milestones in an employee benefits implementation will be Scheme Design, Data Audit, Build, User Acceptance Testing, and Launch.

  • Scheme Design – An early project milestone will be scoping out the benefits to be included in the scheme. You will need a clear understanding of your workforce and the benefits they will typically look for. Consider the following demographics; age, sex, marital status, hobbies (look for interest groups within your organisation; football team, book club etc) and the sources of data you will use to choose your benefits.
  • Data – An important deliverable in the project, to gather and prepare the employee data to drive the scheme. Consider your data sources; from payroll and or HR, and seek advice from your software partner.

Also, don’t forget practical dependencies such as internal resource and time to execute the project. Create a project plan with the key milestones across 30, 60, 90 days and communicate it early in the process to key stakeholders.

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5. Risks and Pitfalls to Avoid!

Well planned and executed projects rarely fail but be aware of the risks and potential pitfalls. Some of the more common hot spots are:

  • Failure to secure executive sponsorship, required to ensure stakeholders are engaged and deadlines met.
  • Assuming a one size fits all when selecting benefits. Your employees will have different interests and be at different life stages and the benefits they choose will reflect this.
  • Poor communication; nothing stops a benefits scheme launch in its tracks quicker than bad communication. Think about how your employees receive and consume information; there’s little point emailing if people are on the shop floor all day away from a computer. Make the communciations simple, easy to follow, readable on mobile devices and supplemented with ‘offline’ promotion such as office posters and desk drops.