Employers do not understand what benefits their staff want, according to research from Unum.
The Workplace Communications Blueprint surveyed 1,010 employees, and found that only three in 10 (29%) think their employer understands what is important to them in a benefits package. Nearly a fifth (18%) said they are dissatisfied with their current package, and half (50%) thought the current offering was not tailored to their needs.
A lack of knowledge about benefits among employees was also uncovered. Some (13%) employees said they were totally unaware if their employer offered any benefits or not, and 28% were aware of some benefits but not all.
The research highlighted the role of the HR department and line managers as vitally important in effectively communicating and engaging employees with their benefits package. People in these roles were identified as the best people to speak to about benefit options (39%), suggesting new benefits (30%), or providing information on current benefits (44%).
Liz Walker, HR director at Unum, said improving clarity is important. “Both employees and consumers have an awful lot of information arriving at them from many different sources,” she said. “So businesses need to find a way to cut through that noise by offering relevant and engaging messages that reflect the needs, wants and motivations of their employees. These can only be known by fully understanding their workforce and what they need, want and value.”
Nick Bacon, professor of human resource management at Cass Business School, agreed that communicating benefits is crucial. “Around two-thirds of employers 64%, have invested in a large range of employee benefits but are failing to make it clear to their staff what they are entitled to,” he said. “These companies are no better off than those employers who haven’t invested in any [benefits] at all. There is a real need for getting the communication right and making it clear to employees that they are valued and their wellbeing is at the heart of the business.”