Prepare for the future of HR with these 3 simple steps

By Chris Bruce, Co-founder and Managing Director of Thomsons Online Benefits

Technology plays a significant role in the way benefits are delivered, selected and utilized. From the way they are accessed by employees, to the way employers are able to use data to personalize benefits to meet the needs of each individual, the future has never been more exciting. There are more opportunities for organizations to support their employees than ever before.

This is not limited to the newest startups or most high-tech industries — every company can take advantage of the benefits evolution. Here are three tips illustrating how your business can do the same.

Step 1: Provide easy access for all

Benefits technology is about more than having access to insurance or gym membership reimbursements. Employees now expect their interactions with enterprise technology to match those of consumer tech, with all the associated ease of use. They want quick and easy access on any device, enabling them to view and engage with their benefits at any time, from any location.

Our Global Employee Benefits Watch report found that loyalty (81%) and pride (79%) were particularly high among employees who can easily access their benefits. Of those who found access to be difficult, just 37% said they were proud to work for their organization. If the benefits experience is not up to par, employees are less likely to engage. This shouldn’t be taken lightly – multiple Gallup polls have shown that engaged employees are much less likely to look for another job.

Step 2: Embrace personalization

When trying to determine which benefits are best, it’s imperative that businesses remember that every employee is unique. Gender, age, culture and geography are among the aspects that shape benefits preferences for each individual. Thus, a single approach may not be the best way to serve every employee within an organization.

But the solution isn’t as difficult as it may appear. Wellness pots, for example, offer a simple alternative to a blanket, take-it-or-leave-it approach. They allow employees to choose how to spend funds allocated to wellness benefits, which can include more than a monthly gym membership.

Employers should also be looking to people analytics to help inform their benefits strategy. By having access to reliable data on which benefits are most popular among which demographic, they can divert spend or create bespoke packages to best meet the needs of these employees.

Step 3: Take full advantage of people analytics

We live in a data-driven world, where the amount and range of data being collected is growing on a daily basis, offering instantaneous results on everything from how and when we work to when and where we use our benefits. By extracting deep organizational insight from data, enterprises can become much more targeted in the types of benefits they offer employees. Our research indicates that 59% of global organizations based in the U.S. have improved their benefits programs by observing workers’ interactions with their benefits platforms.

In just three years, the number of organizations building people analytics teams rose 68% (versus 15% a few years ago). Organizations wholeheartedly recognize that people are their biggest asset, which is why they are so eager to build these teams. And with a wealth of data now available, businesses can ensure they are getting the very best from their people.

Embrace the future

It is now possible for employees to access their benefits from virtually anywhere. At the same time, personalization allows workers to receive the benefits they want most. Additionally, people analytics are improving engagement and productivity while enhancing benefits programs. These are the innovations that will propel HR forward in the years to come. But you don’t have to wait for the next phase – the future is already here. Are you ready?

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