The Consumer Rights Act was designed to protect our rights when we shop on the high street or online, but the principles need to extend to the workplace as employees increasingly expect to be treated as consumers.
This means that employers need to ensure that their voluntary benefits package, and indeed their whole benefits offering, is of the quality and description stated in their promotional literature and that staff receive excellent customer service as and when they take up their chosen perks. But one of employers’ greatest challenges is in identifying how best to communicate with their workforce to ascertain their needs and to encourage them to peruse their shop window of benefits.
I am sure that the majority of employees have a mobile device of some kind, but this does not mean that they wish to use them to engage with their employers’ social media campaigns or intranet sites, unless of course they are given a good reason to do so. This is why organisations need to consider how to create a digital agenda that supports and engages their digitally-minded workforce.
A good start is for employers to ensure that their voluntary benefits offering caters for the respective needs of different generations because it is crucial that they feel that their needs are understood and, at least to some extent, met.
Also, employers need to develop an employee experience brand and marketing map, along with a clear idea of the different workforce segments that they wish to target.
The wide range of benefits now available makes it almost impossible for employers to promote all of them to all employees all of the time, so voluntary benefits providers’ personalisation technology is really helpful.
Employers should consider any new product or service that helps their employees’ workplace shopping experience emulate that experienced with their favourite retailers.
Ian Hodson is reward and benefits manager at the University of Lincoln