A step in the right direction: shopping for workplace benefits

Published by Julia Turney on

Our expert

  • Julia Turney

    Julia Turney

    Partner, Platform and Benefits

  • When it comes to making significant decisions about your workplace benefits, it’s important to know what’s on offer and what’s relevant to you at any one point in your life - I liken it to shoe shopping online.

    I don’t want to see all the hundreds of pairs that might be on sale (but I could if I wanted to). I want to make certain selections around type of shoe, size, colour and style and then be shown a range that I can choose from. One day, I might want a pair of boots and the next I might want a pair of black evening shoes.

    Sole benefits

    Having the right information to help inform your choices is similar to the way Me2® educates as well as illustrating all of the various wealth and health issues/options. It helps the employee focus on the right thing, at the right time so they can make informed decisions.

    It might seem like a simplistic analogy but in the same way as I might suddenly need a pair of shoes for a wedding, I might also need to add another family member to my life cover, or increase my pension contributions depending on my circumstances. Our member engagement platform can help with that.

    Me2® helps with engagement as everything is focussed on the employee as an individual and speaks to them in an accessible way.  It communicates with them concerning areas that they have identified as being important to them and shows outcomes based on these.

    "The workplace experience needs to be more like a retail shopping experience: information, education, engagement and purchase."

    If the shoe fits 

    Me2® is an online modular ‘platform’ which means it can be implemented to suit a client’s needs and can be built on as and when is necessary.  We’ve helped clients move from a defined benefit (DB) scheme to a defined contribution (DC) scheme, highlighting to members the value of the deferred entitlement in the DB scheme, as well as what the new DC scheme could provide. We illustrated how the two could fit together to form a retirement income. 

    As Me2® is pre-populated (we include a basic state pension amount) it means the member only needs to add any other previous pension values in order to get a feel for their real income at a selected retirement age. 

    Others have used it to better communicate the new pension options around taking benefits as Me2® can show a member various outcomes, even dealing with a phased retirement or late and early retirement (around DB).

    It has also been used to communicate with deferred members by a group of trustees and to start the retirement conversation with those under 30.  Employers and trustees are looking at how to help members get the best outcome possible from their pension savings and get them involved in decisions that relate to pension savings - this is where Me2 is really valuable.

    A shoe for every occasion

    We recently developed Me2® to deliver a similar approach around other benefits, especially where the employer wants to offer choice around benefit selection.  Once we have a clear strategy, we communicate this to employees, better engaging with them regarding their job and rewards.

    Employees are helped to focus on the areas that are important to them (suitability, comfort, fit) and to then consider the options they have. For example, if protection is highlighted as an area for me, then I can see if I need any more life cover and if I do, how I can buy this or perhaps understand the income protection scheme that is already in place.

    Wide fit

    We are already looking at widening the ‘wealth’ section to include broader financial issues, holistic financial planning as well as providing a seamless user experience from end to end. I think this is the way that platforms have to develop in the near future.  Too many times I read about integration but in fact it is just manual data transfer or a simple single sign on function. 

    The workplace experience needs to be more like a retail shopping experience: information, education, engagement and purchase.  There also needs to be a meeting of ‘workplace’ and ‘homeplace’ in terms of access to information and solutions for employees - facilitating choices and transactions for an individual across both of these areas. 

    My dream is that Me2® is recognised as a byword for employee engagement in the workplace.  It will be as well known for that as Nike are for just doing it.