Now is the time to prepare your employee benefits for the Christmas season

employee benefits for the Christmas season

by Kylie Green, Director of Consultancy

The truth is it’s never too early to start planning for Christmas when it comes to your benefits programmes.

You want to have all your employee benefits programmes launched and running smoothly before your employees begin Christmas shopping or planning their summer holidays in order to get maximum impact from your benefits launch. If you are launching or re-launching a benefits programme, keep in mind that the average program implementation takes about two months.

Providing your employees with excellent savings on everything from airline tickets to high-definition televisions can generate goodwill among your workforce and boost your Employee Value Proposition, or EVP. Remember that an EVP is made up of every aspect of the employee experience, from wages to fresh fruit in the breakroom, and providing substantial discounts to popular retailers is one big way to increase your EVP without the expense of a company-wide pay rise.

But the reverse is also true, and that’s why it’s important to choose your employee discounts provider wisely. Too-late communications, slow delivery and lacklustre savings can lead your employees to think poorly of the organisation at a crucial time. So make the end of the year one that your employees remember, for all the right reasons.

Here’s a few more ways an employee benefits programme can help your workforce.

Big-ticket savings
A good benefits programme such as Reward Gateway’s SmartSpending solution will have a balance of everyday savings on things like groceries and petrol as well as big-ticket items such as computers and home goods. The holiday season is the time for those big-ticket items to shine.

Check your platform to make sure the big-ticket items are readily available to your workforce and work with your provider to figure out the best way to highlight the most savings, such as retailers with double discounts or limited time offers.

We’ve talked about segmentation before, and while it can be a powerful communications tool, it can be an even greater tool for displaying the most relevant discounts. For my twin girls, I’m looking at Toys ‘R Us for those bigger discounts alongside the other parents at my organisation. Use the demographic information you have on hand to work with your provider team and ensure the most engagement with your discounts. Here are a few other reasons to consider a benefits programme.

It’s not just for gifts
Keep in mind that employees use your discount programme to purchase things other than gifts, such as travel expenses, groceries and alcohol for celebrations and entertainment options. Make sure you offer an extensive range of items that give your employees a choice of benefits that suit their lifestyle.

Promote these items earlier in the season so employees have plenty of time to take advantage of the discounts over their summer break.

Ready to communicate}
No matter how stacked your discount programme is with amazing gift ideas and other holiday offers, it won’t do your employees or your organisation any good unless you tell people about it. A recent Metlife study showed that while 68% of employers believe they educate their employees about their benefits programmes, only 31% of employees feel they have sufficient information to choose the option that meets their needs. So communicate more than you think is necessary.

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Start by putting together your employee communication plan. Make a detailed list of all the communications you intend to produce, from company-wide emails to the flyers on the breakroom wall. It’s also a good idea to start thinking about a theme for this year’s holiday promotion so that when your team is ready to start writing copy in a few weeks, they’ll have an idea of what to say.

Finally, since the holiday season is when more employees than ever will be accessing your employee discount platform, now is a great time to host webinars, launch videos and other helpful programmes to remind people how to use it.