How to kick-start your voluntary benefits programme

How to kick-start your voluntary benefits programme

Offering voluntary benefits is a cost-effective way for employers to save employees money, whatever their interests. Yet these kinds of programmes need to be well designed and implemented in order to encourage engagement. Here are our top tips for launching a successful voluntary benefits scheme.

Have a clear plan in place
It probably goes without saying, but before getting started it’s crucial to have a plan in place. Think about the infrastructure of your scheme and what platform you plan to use. Your choice of platform is a crucial one, as this will dictate the discounts and offers you have access to, as well as things like technology and customer support which will have a direct impact on your team’s user experience and ongoing engagement.

Understand your employees and think about what they want
From discount cards with major retailers, to vouchers and offers at local cinemas, voluntary benefits come in many different forms. Different offers will appeal to different demographics and it’s important to understand what your employees want and what will make a difference to their lives. For many it might be as simple as help with the weekly shop, however one of the big trends of the moment is lifestyle focused voluntary benefits. These can include discounts at national and local gyms, offers for gigs and concerts and even travel deals.

User experience is key
Make it easy to use! The look, feel and user experience of a scheme make a massive difference when it comes to encouraging engagement. Access through easy-to-use mobile apps and online portals is now the norm for most providers, and discounts and offers are quicker and easier to redeem than ever. The functionality of most platforms has improved massively in recent years and e-commerce has brought with it a whole range of delivery options, from instantly redeemable e-vouchers, to online cashback and promotional codes that can be accessed via your mobile phone, in the queue at the vendor in question.

Shout about it to your team
It’s pointless having these great discounts available to your staff if no one is aware of them, so make sure you have a communications strategy in place. The best communication strategies utilise a range of different messages, channels and incentives, often tailored towards different target audiences. These can include posters, presentations, emails, internal intranet platforms, social media platforms, SMS messages, staff handbooks and more. Making use of benefits champions and ‘savings case studies’ is also a great way of engaging staff in schemes.

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Monitor engagement
It’s important to keep an eye on take-up and usage figures to understand which elements of the scheme are resonating well or not with your team. We advise clients to regularly analyse management information as well as conducting engagement surveys to find out what employees think of a scheme.

Find out more
If you’re interested in finding out more about how your organisation could utilise voluntary benefits, keep an eye out for our forthcoming e-book, which includes a case study of our work with the Metropolitan Police.