One of the top challenges employers face with regards to their benefits strategy is how to ensure employees sufficiently value their benefits.
Towers Watson’s 2013 Asia Pacific Benefit Trends survey shows that, while there is a clear link between effective communication and benefits value perception, many employers are yet to leverage it.
The survey, which was conducted between February and March 2013 among 1,066 employers in the region, shows a positive correlation between the perceived value of benefits and effective communication in the organisations surveyed.
For employers who felt they communicate effectively on benefits, 91% also indicated that they believe their benefits are sufficiently or highly valued by employees. This number drops to 67% for organisations that do not communicate on benefits effectively.
“Communication is often overlooked when it comes to rolling out a comprehensive benefit strategy, but as we found, it is often an integral way to improve the ROI that employers strive for,” said Matthew Jackson, Director — Benefits Optimisation, Asia Pacific. “When it comes to having a strong benefits program, part of the solution is to create a scheme that is flexible and adaptable to different employee segments with different needs. But much of this effort could be wasted if not supported by an effective, targeted communication strategy that makes use of different types of media.”
Despite listing improving employees’ perceived value of benefits as one of their top objectives for their organisational benefits strategy, 31% of employers still do not communicate about benefits to their workforce Although high, this number is an improvement from 55% of employers in 2009.
Additionally, the survey found that 22% of companies still communicate using paper-based tools. Despite this, employers are beginning to embrace newer technologies: a quarter makes use of online benefit portals.
“Today, a significant slice of employees’ lives are lived online, and this is how they communicate too. It’s the first place they go to for information,” said Jackson.
Jackson notes that an effective communication strategy will be multi-dimensional. While paper-based communications such as mailers and posters have their place, they should be complemented with other, diverse forms of messaging.
"Employers who are not communicating their benefits could risk squandering the investment they put into an otherwise well-designed and valuable benefits scheme,” says Jackson.