Reshaping employee benefits in 2015

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According to Edenred's annual benefits provision research, the year ahead will see a major overhaul in the way organisations fund and offer employee benefits.

Some of these changes are predictable. The need to comply with new legislation will drive changes to the benefits mix in six in 10 organisations as they manage the ongoing impact of pensions auto-enrolment, and strive to maximise the financial and engagement benefits from employer-led childcare voucher schemes before government changes take effect.

Other changes will come as a response to the rising economy: one in two organisations will reshape their benefits proposition in order to support the battle to retain and attract talent in an increasingly buoyant employment market.

While it is great to see the majority of businesses with plans in place to meet the challenges in the year ahead, our research also shows that those involved in planning and delivering reward and benefits are missing a major opportunity to bring more creativity and innovation to what they offer their employees.

Looking at the responses from the 300 or so practitioners we spoke to, there are three clear areas for action.

The first of these is around the use of technologyIn 2015 only one in four organisations say they will use technology to improve their benefits mix. At a time when the way we live day-to-day is dictated by smartphones, the web and online channels for shopping and communication, exploiting these opportunities has to be a priority.

A second focus must be a move away from the one-size-fits all, take it or leave it benefits proposition to something that is personalised to the widening demographics in the workplace.

There is an increasing body of evidence that choice and flexibility motivates and attracts employees of all ages. With just over one in 10 organisations recognising this, it represents a clear opportunity for benefits to play a larger role in building a distinctive employee value proposition.

The final focus must be to inject innovation into the reward mix. The fact that just 15% of companies said their benefits proposition was innovative shows the scope for fresher, bolder approaches. This isn’t just about the individual benefits products but how they are communicated, packaged and aligned to HR policy.

Stepping up to these challenges is vital for every organisation. Not just to ensure you stand out as an employer, but increasingly because those who don't meet the expectations of existing and prospective employees will fail to retain the people they need to thrive.

Andy Philpott is sales and marketing director at Edenred

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