JP Morgan’s efforts to revamp its flexible benefits plan to boost employee engagement have been shaped by staff demands for greater access to information, in line with the evolution of global technology.
Adam Brooke, employee benefits manager (UK), says: “We need to keep in mind that our employees have everyday access to computers, so that’s going to be the main channel used to engage them. But whether an employee is at work or even at home, they need to be able to access things really quickly and simply, because, obviously, the demands of work are fast-paced and they need to find information quickly.”
The financial services organisation’s flex rejig was part of wider revamp of its entire employee benefits offer, which saw the launch of a single benefits platform, Elements, in 2012 with the help of its flexible benefits platform provider, Vebnet. This replaced individual platforms that JP Morgan ran previously for its flexible benefits, pension scheme and wellness programme.
“There was a bit of a scattergun approach to the way we communicated,” says Brooke. “The information was all there, but it was across a number of sites.”
The flex programme has also seen a secondary enrolment window introduced for its gym membership, provided by GymFlex. Gym membership, together with healthcare top-ups, are aligned with the organisation’s global wellness campaign, which helps to plug any shortfall in National Health Service provision for JP Morgan’s UK employees.
“We were fully aware that with a flexible benefits platform, employees go on once a year and that’s it, and typically they wait until the following year to make changes,” says Brooke. “We wanted to make sure [the platform] was used more, so employees could start to engage and see the benefits more.”
A comprehensive communications strategy to support Elements involved the head of HR for Europe, the Middle East and Africa introducing Elements to employees via email and a personalised, mini flexible benefits guide for each staff member.
The organisation also produced an interactive, electronic brochure for its core benefits package, which replaced a heavy, 60-page printed guide.
JP Morgan saw employee take-up in its benefits platform rocket from 40% to 67% after the launch of Elements in April 2012, and the employer won the ‘Best benefits communications’ category at the Employee Benefits Awards 2013 in June.