Following my recent visit to People Management offices to take part in a round table discussion about health at work I thought I would give more detailed thoughts around workplace demographics – there are more women at work, more part time workers, more older employees and more ill or disabled employees, the question we were asked was are employers offering the right sort of benefits and tailoring their reward approach to take account of the reality of their workforce?
I would always start by saying “ask your employees.” You will never know what another person wants until you ask them, I believe this is true of anything (unless you have your Masters in Mind Reading of course!)
If you have not evaluated the take up of current benefits on offer, and asked the question of workers ‘what benefits would you like to see included’, and carried out a costing analysis you will never be in the a position to offer the right benefits for your people.
Some employers are put off by the rising costs of benefits, it goes without saying that providing Private Medical Insurance will become more costly year on year, and can your business sustain that?
All businesses have to keep an eye on the costs, but just by thinking a little bit outside the box you may be able to provide a range of benefits that will appeal to everyone.
Instead of PMI have you considered a Healthcare Cashplan? Do employees really want gym membership or would they prefer someone to come in at lunchtime to lead Nordic walking sessions, or do employees with an interest in jogging or cycling just need to be put in touch with each other so they can arrange their own clubs?
There are so many creative ways you can engage with your employees and provide additional benefits at little cost, so if you do want to look at benefits try my 11 step plan below:
- Review your current provision – are your employees making use of what you offer?
- Provide full reward statements so that employees recognise the financial cost of their total package (include holidays, cars, pensions etc)
- Carry out a survey to find out what benefits people would value
- Set up a steering group made up of management and employees to review and look at what is on offer externally and in-house
- Meet with benefit providers to get the right options
- Decide if using flexible benefits what the annual allowance will be and what benefits to include
- Run an in-house marketing campaign to raise awareness
- Facilitate benefit providers talking to employees so that people make informed choices
- Ensure you plan election periods when people can select the right benefits for them
- Keep communicating with employees to ensure that all your hard work is rewarded with a strong uptake
- Review benefits regularly so that you can add or remove benefits as applicable.
Yes, this is hard work to implement, but it is absolutely worth the effort if employees receive the benefits they need that fit their lifestyle, it has got to be better than offering one benefit across the board with a small percentage of employees actually making use of it.
I was recently interviewed by People Management magazine about health screening and health related benefits. If you are interested in health screening the full article can be viewed by CIPD members here