Only 57% of employers believe employees understand their benefits, GRiD research reveals
According to research revealed today by the industry body for group risk, only 57% of employers believe their workforce is aware of all their benefits and understands them.
The study of 500 HR decision makers found that 28% of employers believe their workforce is aware of all their benefits but doesn't understand them all, 10% of employers believe their workforce is only aware of some of their benefits.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: "A huge amount of resource, time, energy and money is invested in compiling employee benefits packages. This is maximised when a workforce is aware of the benefits and understands them."
As appreciation of benefits is connected to how well they're communicated, the research also looked at the frequency and methods of communication. It revealed that 38% of employers communicate details of their benefits when there's a change to the terms and conditions of a particular benefit; 29% communicate benefits at recruitment stage; 26% communicate benefits at least quarterly; 22% communicate benefits at performance reviews; 21% communicate benefits once a year and 8% don't communicate their benefits
GRiD highlighted that regular communication strategies are most effective as they ensure benefits packages are suited to an employee's life stages and circumstances, which can change at any time.
Moxham said: "We see people at some of the most vulnerable stages in their life in our industry: at times of ill-health, disability and bereavement. Circumstances that by their nature are often unforeseen. This is exactly why benefits that support such situations need to be communicated regularly, so they are front of mind when they are needed."
GRiD also questioned 1,165 employees. The research showed that the most popular method for communicating benefits is in a staff welcome pack (38%) and by post was the least popular (11%).
However only 15% of employees preferred the staff welcome pack option and the most popular was via email (23%).
The second most popular option for employees was through a company intranet (19%). Likewise, 19% of employers opted for this.
The staff handbook was chosen by 29% of employers, however only 15% of employees chose this option.
Worryingly, over a third (35%) of employees don't believe their employer communicates benefits or can't remember if they do.
GRiD suggested the data shows that there is a disconnect between what employees and employers consider to be the best way of communicating benefits, and that employees are likely to vary in their preferred methods.
Moxham said: "These findings are particularly pertinent given new legislation, which came into force 6 April this year requiring employers to inform employees about their employment and benefits on day one or on request. But, in addition to complying with this, to increase engagement and for benefits to be utilised, they need to be understood, to which communication is central. Whether we're talking about pensions, healthcare, employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection or critical illness, the approach needs to be the same. Employers need to tell their workforce what they're offered, communicate via as many means as possible, and do so regularly."
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