If you turned the clock back two decades, the employee benefits technology portfolio would have been much more limited than it is today, with employees informed of offers via notice-boards or generic emails. There was little flexibility, personalisation or two-way engagement.
Today, that has all changing. A survey carried out by Mercer Marsh Benefits in the second quarter of 2021, The age of adaptability: A digital-first approach to benefits in a post-pandemic world, found that 76% of organisations spent more on HR technology during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. But to make the investment worthwhile, they need to ensure their spend is working for their HR teams and employees. Systems must be easy to use, flexible and accessible, ensuring everyone can enrol from any location or device.
Personalisation is increasingly key. More businesses are using technology to deliver online employee benefits portals which allow workers to see all the information which is relevant to them in one place. They can be encouraged to self-serve, adding more data to the system, which allows further personalisation of the employee experience as people move through life stages.
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We are also seeing a raft of tools that drive participation. Businesses can use gamification to boost employee engagement and motivate employees by giving them the opportunity to compete against their peers to win incentives or benefits.
Digital delivery is also changing the face of employee benefits. By sending staff e-vouchers or digital rewards, businesses can improve the employee experience and ensure staff get instant access to benefits that remain in date.
The biggest change in employee benefits delivery today though comes from the ability businesses now have to make use of the latest data to pinpoint trends, understand what the most attractive benefits are to specific members of staff and deliver a more tailored service. Data can also be key in showing businesses the return they are getting from the money they are spending and ensuring their approach is working for them.
Finally, it is vital that employee benefits technology automates the administration process for hard-pressed HR teams, enabling them to get transactional work done quickly and efficiently and freeing up their time to take on a more strategic role.
Kate Bishop is chief human resources officer at IFS