Sally Hart: What are the latest trends in promoting voluntary benefits?


No longer limited to generic vouchers, voluntary benefits now form a significant part of the overall reward package. In promoting a wider range of benefits, one size no longer fits all.

Increasingly, employers are customising benefits communications to help employees make relevant choices. HR data is used to tailor content to individual circumstances and factor in previous benefits choices. Along with using traditional enrolment anniversaries, benefits communications can be set to coincide with life events, such as reaching a milestone birthday, or having a child.

What is on offer is also made to measure; employers are creating new voluntary benefits to meet the specific needs of their workforce. With an increase in health issues at work, some employers are promoting wellbeing through specific lifestyle options. There is also a growing trend in financial wellness. Employers are using tools to understand employees’ financial pressure points before providing bespoke benefit solutions, such as salary loan lending, financial education, and savings schemes.

Employers can now distribute benefits information through multiple channels including mobile applications, messaging, and video. This helps employees to make their choices on the move. Some organisations are using new technology to help employees find out about their benefits in fun, engaging ways.

Digital promotion allows for tracking, showing what information has been clicked on or skipped over, as well as revealing overall media preferences. This data can be used to ensure a good fit on future campaigns.

Yet, despite growing technological sophistication, employees still value being able to talk to someone. Capita’s Employee insight report 2016/17, published in September 2016, found around a quarter of employees like face-to-face interaction when it comes to their benefits. Personalisation is the trend, but we still need to keep it personal.

Sally Hart is executive director at the International Benefits Network (IBN) 

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