Your company may have a superb suite of workplace benefits, in some ways that is the easy part.
How do you encourage employees to actually take advantage?
It is an obvious truth that benefits that are ignored are essentially pointless; they could be of value to people but aren’t being so.
However, what is also worth considering is that workplace benefits should do more than simply saving employees some money on a service they were already using; beneficial though this may be.
Using the example of a gym membership scheme, when this is offered some employees will ignore the offer.
Others who are existing gym users might switch the scheme; the benefit is financial but it has not changed their behaviour. They are not healthier because of the benefit as they were already exercising regularly.
A third group of those who weren’t signed up to a gym may be encouraged to do so via the scheme. This behaviour is of huge value.
The same could be said of a cycle to work scheme, the greatest value is in those who previously drove and are persuaded to switch. There is less behavioural benefit in those who previously cycled but now switch to the scheme. And, of course, there are those who ignore the scheme entirely.
For workplace benefits to be truly effective they need to change behaviour for the better for as many employees as possible, making changes that are beneficial to these employees.
The benefits can also be beneficial to mental health, an option such as the Employee Assistance Programme provides confidential counselling and support through a wide range of problems and concerns. There is no judgement, no reporting back to the company, just a service that provides help and assistance.
This service has never been of more value than in 2020 and 2021, with the mental health problems that have accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic.
Again, the service is only of use to those who use it.
How then can behaviour be changed?
You can’t simply tell people to use a service, even talking about it in glowing terms in the newsletter, or in staff meetings or via any other route may only have limited success. All those methods are worth trying, but sometimes a bit of creative thinking is required.
We loved the idea outlined in a recent Forbes article, using gamification to encourage participation.
This would work for gym membership, you could create leaderboards for most miles cycled or the most steps on the step machine.
Cycling to work you could create a leaderboard of the most consecutive days cycled to work with a prize at the end of each month.
This approach won’t work for something like the EAP, you can’t gamify seeking help and counselling.
Instead, it might be that advocates could speak of the benefits, this could put the benefit into more human terms, showing how it helped one person.
At Enjoy Benefits, we have great experience in helping companies of all sizes introduce benefits that are suitable for their workplace.
Benefits are easy to set up and ongoing administration is then run through a hub, this allowing employees to manage their own benefits while the employer can see which benefits are proving popular and what level of take-up each has had.
If you would like an obligation free chat to discuss which benefits might work for your business and your employees, please contact us by calling 0800 088 7315 or using our Contact Form.