Only 22% of employers communicate their employee benefits offering before day one of employment, such as in an offer letter; and only 18% communicate the offering before recruitment, for instance in a job advertisement, shows research from GRiD.
When a remuneration package is a visible differentiator and often a reason for choosing to work for a company, GRiD says that many companies are missing a trick by not promoting them more prominently to potential hires and new starters. This is particularly relevant during the popular job-search month of January and extremely pertinent given that, from April 2020, employers must give employees access to a written statement of various particulars of their employment on day 1 of employment or before.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: ‘Employee benefits demonstrate a company cares for its staff, wants to protect them and has taken the trouble to find ways to support them – plenty of reasons for wanting to work for a company. There’s little point in having them if staff don’t know they exist, and they’re certainly not working as hard as they could be for a company if they’re not being promoted as a reason to join.’
Promoting employee benefits at the earliest opportunity is good business practice, and can help ongoing communications to have more impact. Yet many employers are still not doing as much as they could be when it comes to communicating benefits, even once staff have joined.
How employers communicate their employee benefits to staff:
- 31% in a staff welcome pack
- 28% via email
- 25% in a staff handbook
- 22% before day one of employment/in offer letter
- 19% on staff noticeboard
- 18% before recruitment, eg in job advertisements
- 17% via company intranet
- 11% at staff benefit fairs
- 11% total reward statements
- 11% post to employees’ home addresses
- 10% via benefit platform/via apps
Investing in employee benefits can be intensive in terms of resource, cost and time, but that can all be wasted if staff don’t know about them. Designing an appropriate style and utilising a mixture of approaches to best fit each employers’ specific needs should be considered, both before and after recruitment.
Different methods of communication will resonate with different employees, so using a mix has maximum impact. Some employees will read a staff welcome pack cover to cover, some will be expert in navigating the benefits pages on their company intranet and for some, benefits are only brought to life when they can talk them through with a professional during a presentation. So utilising as many methods as possible has the best chance of engaging as many staff as possible.
Value for employers
Benefits can only be utilised if employees know they exist and understand what they can offer. And that’s when employers get most value too. Generally with employee benefits, the better the understanding, the better the potential outcome. That starts with communication, and it needs to start early, ideally before recruitment.
As Moxham explains: ‘For instance, with group risk products (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection, critical illness) during 2018, our industry helped 5,595 employees back to work after a period of sick leave; and there were a total of 75,446 interactions with the additional help and support provided for staff via group risk policies – all funded by the provider. This is a perfect demonstration of the value both the employee and employer get from benefits when they’re understood, and that starts with communication.’