Published by Peter Meyler on
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Employers should consider whether shifting the focus of differentiation to benefits is a better way of standing out from their competitors and improving their ability to attract and retain the best and brightest talent. This requires them to be innovative and creative in offering something different and more personalised, while also ensuring that the benefits are relevant and of value to employees as well as being valued by them.
...some employers are starting to focus on the “employee experience” as the next evolution...
This is supported by a recent shift in thinking and approach where some employers are starting to focus on the “employee experience” as the next evolution from employee engagement and job satisfaction that came before that. There has also been an increase in the number of job adverts for managerial employee experience roles.
This evolution is very similar to what has happened in customer relationship management where user experience has risen in importance and relevance compared to pure loyalty and satisfaction. Many of the skills, techniques and campaigns employed by insight, marketing and branding specialists are equally applicable to the HR community in considering benefits review and design.
Customer insight teams have a distinct advantage in this space because of the amount of money invested by organisations in really understanding their customer base. They have access to a multitude of vital customer data and insight sources such as preferred channels, on-line browsing activity, purchasing activity, responses to specific offers and events, social media interaction, returns, complaints, mystery shopping and formalised customer feedback channels. When this information is brought together it provides a rich picture about customers, their lives and what they like and dislike. This allows organisations to segment customers in really targeted and creative ways and execute really efficient, effective and profitable campaigns and services for customers.
In comparison a fraction of the amount invested in customer metrics and insights is spent on employee metrics and insight. This is despite many organisations saying that they put their employees first or describing them as their “greatest asset”. This feels like a contradiction against a reality that most organisations know so much more about their customers than their employees. This is because they think about employees as employees rather than people with lives that blend across work and home with families, responsibilities, skill/talents, life experiences, interests etc. This means that the approach taken to benefits design is based around them being employees with similar types of benefits provided based on what the employer believes they will want and value rather than being informed by relevant metrics and insights.
Whilst this might all sound a bit depressing, and accepting that metrics and insight on employees may be limited in some organisations, what can employers do to offer a more personalised approach to benefits:-
Employee benefits are not keeping pace with the changes we are seeing inside and outside of the workplace and this needs to change if organisations want to be seen as current and relevant.