Employee benefits – ask your employees what they want

An increasingly digital world is shaping the way we live. We’ve become accustomed to having choice, convenience and a personalised experience. And we expect the same from our employee benefits.

But how do you pick the right employee benefits for your employees, so that there’s something for everyone?

It’s no secret that the companies getting it right are way ahead of the ‘chasing pack’. They’re able to retain and attract the best people because they’ve got their ear to the ground and know what their employees want.

Just look at Airbnb (a fairly young company in business terms), they’re making big waves in employee benefits. Not satisfied with simply having an HR department, they’ve created their own Employee Experience department, designed to put their employees at the very heart of everything they do.

In this blog we’ll explore the different ways to find what out your employees are looking for, and the best way to tell them about it…

Getting to know what your employees really want

The key is getting to know the people that work for you. Have you ever considered taking away the guess-work and actually asking them for their feedback?

Sounds simple, but keeping open clear lines of communication will help you understand what’s important to them. That way you can offer the most effective range of benefits that your employees really value.

Choosing the right channel for your audience will be really important. A diverse workforce will respond differently to different types of communication. For example, Generation Z will want to be told via digital and social channels, whereas Generation X will be more familiar with traditional methods (brochures and face-to-face communications).

And it won’t necessarily be easy. Talking about employee benefits in a fun and engaging way, that’s easy to understand, can be a little tricky.

For top tips and useful information on how to get the most from your comms, make sure you read our blog about Effectively promoting your employee benefits to your staff’.

What’s the right tool for the job?

Great! You’ve decided this is something you’d like to do. Just remember, if you do open the ‘Pandora’s Box’ of communication be prepared to take action from the word go. It will require time and effort, but the rewards can be great.

So what tools can you use to get the best results?

There are a variety of methods that give you the same information. We won’t go through them all in this blog, but to give you an idea here are just a few examples…

Surveys – arguably the most popular way to gather information either online or on paper. But before you jump in and start writing the survey questions, map out the whole process.

We’ve created our top tips to survey writing for you to download and we’ve even pulled together our own example survey that you can take inspiration from.

Face-to-face – Often an underutilised way of communicating especially in today’s digital age. You can hold employee focus groups, workshops or even interview a sample of your workforce.

Digital/online – a particularly effective way of communicating with a younger audience. Online forums and private social media networks (we have our own – it’s called CPYou, other companies use other enterprise social networks, such as Yammer) are very popular.

Existing data – If you already provide employee benefits, your employees and the benefits they take can be a great source of information.

You could carry out each of these in isolation and you might even get the results you’re looking for. But it’s also useful to combine research results, for example an online survey followed by a face-to-face chat can help you delve deeper into the detail.

Always have a plan

Before you commit to carrying out an extensive research project, remind yourself why you offer employee benefits. That way you’ll know exactly why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve.

It could be a variety of things that will motivate your decision – recruitment, retention or wanting to keep your employees happy.

And when we talk about recruitment and retention, we’re not talking about simply ‘ticking the box’ in a job advert saying you have employee benefits or measuring the success of your benefits by uptake levels alone.

We’re talking about value – if employees or even prospective employees can see the value of the benefits you’re offering, that’s when you’ve cracked it.

Good luck, and don’t forget to download our top tips to survey writing and example survey (for added inspiration).