Research from Canada Life has shown that employer communication regarding benefits was often sporadic, with only just over a third (37%) of respondents stating their employer was transparent and helpful when it came to workplace benefits.
A fifth of employees said that benefits information was provided when they first joined a company, but not after that. In fact, 13% of people said they wouldn’t even know who to ask for further information.
These stats show that employees do value benefits when choosing a new job but often struggle to understand what they are being offered. This proves that clearer benefit information is required to successfully recruit and retrain staff.
Canada Life marketing director, Paul Avis, said: “Our research has shown employees do consider what benefits are available to them when deciding which employer to work for, and rightly so, but is enough being done to communicate their value?” he continued. “In a period of low wage inflation, so much more can be done to clearly communicate the value of what an organisation has already paid for.
“It is very encouraging to see younger employees in particular are taking such an interest in workplace benefits. There does, however, seem to be a worrying lack of clarity about what is available and who employees should direct their enquiries to. Proactive, ongoing messaging with clear internal ownership is needed.”
32 per cent of respondents believe it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure benefits were clearly understood by staff.
A fifth (20%), however, pinned responsibility on both employers and product providers or insurers, while a similar percentage said they felt responsible as an individual (19%) – peaking at a third (33%) of respondents aged 25 to 34. Canada Life said this sense of responsibility implied a higher level of engagement with non-salary benefits from younger workers.
Avis added: “Insurers and advisers have a role to play in providing information and materials to help give employers the tools to drive positive conversations around their benefit packages. With a raft of superb communications in many different formats available to them, employers should actively engage with all their benefits providers to see what they can provide.”
Pensions, benefits and actuarial firm Quantum Advisory has stated that providing workplace benefits which suited and supported employees’ lifestyles were key to true engagement.
The firm’s principal risk and benefits consultant, Pauline Iles said: “Employee benefits mean far more than the odd ‘work perk’ in today’s job market, and employers are waking up to the fact an attractive salary alone is not sufficient to entice new talent and ensure continuous engagement.
“Organisations must get inside the heads of their employees and put a selection of benefits on the table that really make sense to them.”
Thanks to the increasing sophistication of flexible benefit platforms, Iles said, it had never been so easy to implement a high-calibre programme to allow employees to add “what they want when they want”.
“There is little point in investing in providing a benefit if people do not know it is available, so a clear and consistent communications strategy should underpin any benefits programme,” she added.
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