Alison Argall: How to create the perfect benefit launch

alison argall

Employers only get one chance to introduce a new benefit, so it is critical to get it right. When it comes to fine-tuning the perfect benefit launch, there are some key insights that can help organisations start with a bang.

Clear goals for success

Perhaps benchmarking or staff feedback has revealed a gap in an employer’s total reward offering, perhaps the goal is to support organisational objectives with additional perks, or maybe the aim is to provide best in class benefits.

Whatever the reason, it is important to be clear about what the new benefit needs to achieve. Having defined goals and sense of what success looks like will, in turn, help an employer set a reasonable budget, create an effective scorecard to objectively rate potential suppliers, and set key performance indicators (KPIs) against which to measure the success of the benefit implementation. KPIs might include improved employee wellbeing, enhanced engagement, or even reduced CO2 emissions.

Picking the provider

The right provider can aid a successful launch, as well as the ongoing operation of a new benefit, so employers should consider how their choice fits with their organisational goals.

Factors to take into account should include whether an online system will fit with the employer brand, how employees will access it and whether these methods work for the organisation’s specific workforce, and whether or not elements such as single sign-on capability are desirable.

In addition, it is important to find out how much additional administration will be required, and whether it is possible to source the skills and experience to service the benefit in-house.

Pre-launch preparations

Perfect benefit launches rely on having the right team. To ensure all bases are covered, it is worth including people from a variety of functions, including HR, reward, payroll, finance, communications and, if relevant, IT and compliance.

A kick-off meeting can help introduce everyone involved, laying the groundwork for them to work well together, as well as covering key milestones, so that the team is clear on who is doing what and when.

To streamline the project, the legal paperwork can usually be completed alongside other activity. Public sector employers will enjoy a smoother launch by working with providers that have these frameworks in place already.

The next step is to agree on a communications plan. This can either be created in-house or sourced externally; most providers will be able to provide materials that can be branded and adapted to suit a specific environment and situation. 

Just before the new benefit goes live, it is worth considering holding a pre-launch meeting to give an overview of the project’s next steps. This will ensure everyone involved is primed and ready to deliver.

Implementing effectively

It is always best to launch your new benefit with a communications bang.

Effective communications should explain: what is in it for employees, how aspect such as salary sacrifice work, projected savings for staff, with real-life examples, and how employees can take action.

A benefits roadshow can ensure that staff can see and explore physical products, as well as giving them the opportunity to ask any questions that come up.

Ongoing communications, planned a year in advance, will also help to keep benefits front of mind well beyond the launch date.

Managing a benefit

When a new benefit is first taken up, it is important to deal with it effectively.

For salary sacrifice benefits, for example, employers should ensure they process any tax changes immediately, so that accurate deductions begin promptly, in line with employees’ expectations. Getting this right at first means cementing employees’ confidence in the scheme and ensuring continued take up down the line.

Rolling out a new benefit might feel a little daunting, but with the right plan in place, an employer can set itself up for the perfect launch, and all the advantages that an engaged workforce brings.

Alison Argall is business development director at Tusker