Sage uses data research software to drive benefits communications strategy

Sage uses data technologies to streamline its benefits communication strategy more effectively.

The accountancy software organisation uses the Darwin Analytics software, provided by Thomsons Online Benefits, to enable Sage’s benefits team to analyse the engagement levels and spend of its 13,000 employees. The technology also enables them to drill down further and identify whether particular groups of employees are engaging more than others, for example, and if this is impacted by factors such as location, department, function, gender or age.

Traditionally, Sage has enabled employees to select benefits via its flexible benefits scheme once a year, however, since moving to the new data software in 2016, staff are able to take up benefits at any time throughout the year. Linked to this, the benefits team are looking at rolling out communications for its employees at key career and seasonal moments.

Sage has used the data it has collated so far to find out when people are most likely to take up a benefit and is tailoring its communications to take this into account. For example, in spring employees take up its bikes-for-work scheme and in January they join the gym.

The software also flags up milestone career points and takes into account attraction as well as retention. Analysing the data has helped the organisation create benefits packages that are attractive to its employees and it aims to increase engagement through a more continuous communications approach.

Kelly Mitchell, benefits and recognition lead at Sage, says: “It’s a fabulous source of valuable information that we can access ourselves to support us in making decisions on our benefits approach, whether that will be the strategy or in terms of our communication plan.

“We’re looking at various touchpoints in [an employee’s] journey and how we communicate with them so they get the best messages at the time that suits them and their changing needs. Whether that’s looking at before [an employee] joins from an attraction perspective and getting them on board, to passing probation, or a lifestyle event like having a child, getting married or approaching retirement. We’re looking at how we can use communications to really support [an employee’s] journey within Sage and their various lifestyle changes.

The organisation also uses the social media channel Chatter, which is reminiscent of Facebook, as part of its communications strategy. Employees each have their own log-in page and can post, like, comment and share information.

“We use it as one of our communication channels within Sage to share ideas, collaborate and get messages out to the business,” adds Mitchell. “We have a page dedicated to our Sage awards within the UK and Ireland, and the benefits team often posts things. [For example,] we regularly post about discounts. It’s a good, informal channel. Whether it’s feedback on a benefit [employees] want to share with others, a particular discount [an employee has] secured through a supplier that they’ve been working with, or they want to talk or post on there.

“When we’re communicating we do so in a way that not only suits our organisation, it has to be really engaging. We really think about how we can do things that will hook [people] in. It’s about thinking outside of the box, it’s about using the data, thinking about channels, thinking about the organisation and what works for [us].”

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