We work with a huge range of organisations and whether we’re talking to a global investment bank, a specialist charity or a fledgling startup, one of the first questions we’re asked is what sort of engagement rate employers should be looking to achieve with their employee benefits platform.
Employee benefits schemes are a great way of giving back to your team, supporting their lives outside of the workplace and acknowledging their efforts and achievements. It’s crucial to know that what you have on offer, via your portal, is meeting those objectives. Put simply, there’s little point in having employee benefits schemes if your staff aren’t using them.
Monitoring engagement is therefore crucial. It can help you fine-tune what benefits are being offered as part of a scheme, its usability and how that scheme is communicated. Moreover, this kind of data can prove that you have achieved a good return on investment when presenting to your board or finance team.
So what sort of engagement should your employee benefits schemes be achieving?
Expected engagement levels
In short, we would usually be looking to achieve uptake rates of between 50% and 70% with our clients and that’s roughly in line with the rest of the industry. For example, in an article about flexible benefits schemes, Employee Benefits magazine suggests that a good indication of engagement is over 50% of members making changes to their package during the course of the first year.
That said, engagement figures will depend on a range of different factors and gauging success isn’t usually as simple as just looking at your overall usage/engagement.
Don’t take data at face value
The great thing about an online portal is that it can provide plenty of data easily around factors such as take-up and benefits selection. But this kind of data shouldn’t always be taken at face value. In terms of what you can learn from engagement stats, don’t assume that lack of engagement is all about the benefits on offer. For example, this may tell you more about a portal’s usability than it does about whether specific benefits are popular or not. The best employee benefits portals should be quick and easy to use, from a range of different devices. The portals that look and feel great to use tend, in our experience, to be the most popular.
Consider the context
It’s also important to think about the context in which you judge your engagement stats. Some benefits – such as cycle to work schemes, for example – may have quite a niche appeal (and therefore low engagement) but that’s not to say they aren’t valued by those employees that do take advantage. It’s therefore important to look at the employee benefits scheme as a whole. With this in mind, it can actually be more insightful to benchmark results, taking a before and after view, rather than just looking at a final engagement figure. If there has been a 40% improvement in 6 months, but overall engagement is still only 35% of your workforce, then that is still a positive result.
Lastly, it’s worth considering other evidence when trying to figure out the success of a scheme. Has it had any impact on other variable factors? In addition to engaging your staff, having an effective employee benefits scheme can also help increase operational efficiency by reducing the administrative burden on HR personnel or reducing the use of paper across the organisation. Don’t lose sight of these important benefits by focusing on engagement figures alone.
If you’d like to find out how to foster better employee engagement through voluntary benefits, click here.