Only a fifth (21%) of employees say they have a very good understanding of all the health and wellbeing benefits they’re offered. Yet employee understanding is vastly over-estimated by employers – where 57% of employers believe their staff are fully aware of, and fully understand, all the employee benefits they are offered, according to research commissioned by GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: ‘There is a clear disconnect between how well employees understand their benefits in practice, and what employers believe. The answer probably lies in communication: good communication is likely to lead to better awareness, understanding and engagement.’

One in four (27%) employers say they increased the communication about the benefits they offer over the preceding 12 months, but only 16% of employees believe their employer had increased communications in practice.

Moxham continued: ‘The communication of benefits is not a once and done, it is a rolling activity that needs constant consideration and energy to achieve results, otherwise the risk is that employees stop listening. Employers who struggle to invigorate the communication of their employee benefits would do well to discuss possible strategies with their benefits providers and advisers: they will have experience about which approach is most effective in different workplace environments and for different cohorts of staff.’

Popular methods of employee benefits communications

The most popular method used by employers to communicate employee benefits is via email (39%), followed by staff welcome packs (31%) and staff handbooks (28%). However, GRiD suggests that employers would benefit from making use of a broader range of channels and mediums to increase engagement. Only 12% of employers said they communicate benefits at promotional fairs or drop-in sessions, just 14% do so by Total Reward Statements and 16% via post to a home address.

Katharine Moxham added: ‘Employers should be loud and proud of the benefits they offer their staff. They need to communicate in a way that works, utilise a mix of channels, and to communicate regularly as not all employees will be receptive at the same time, on the same day or via the same method.

‘Creating a buzz around the support available means staff will be much more aware of what is on offer and allows staff to get a deeper understanding, really value the benefits they receive and engage with them. Judging by our research, this would merit greater consideration by employers.’