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Do You Know Who Is Actually Using Your Benefits?

Discover ways to find out what your employees really want and create a benefits program that meets their needs.

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A company decides to offer a discounted gym membership to their employees. The only problem? That gym is located near their physical office and most of their employees work remotely. Time and time again we hear of companies that offer great benefits, yet wonder why they are not being utilized. The answer is simple - they are not offering the right benefits to the right audience. It would be like serving a steak dinner to a table of vegans. There seems to be a gap between the discussions that HR teams are having and what employees actually want, need, and use. So, how can you determine who is actually using your benefits? 

Employee surveys

The good old fashioned survey is a great tool to better understand the needs and interests of your population. However, before jumping into your survey creation, be sure to have conversations with senior leadership first to ensure that survey feedback will be taken seriously. A survey followed by no change may feel insincere to employees. Designing a survey and asking the right questions may be a bit more complex than first meets the eye. 

First, you’ll want to time your survey correctly; sending out a survey right before the holiday season will guarantee you low participation. Be sure to avoid holidays or particularly busy seasons for your industry. Next, you’ll need to let employees know about the survey and encourage them to participate. In all communications, be sure to let employees know that their participation and feedback will be anonymous and confidential. Ask team leads what they think the best form of communication is regarding the survey. Perhaps an email will do, but you may find that discussing it in weekly team meetings or leaving a flier printed with a reminder in the kitchen might work well depending on your unique workforce. You will also want to clearly communicate with employees a plan of how the results will be communicated. For example, you could set a webinar or presentation date in advance when the results will be presented with an opportunity for an q&a session with senior leadership.  

A good rule of thumb is to keep things simple - short and sweet so as to not take up too much time (and therefore increase participation), clearly worded questions, and a rating scale of 1-5  (open-ended questions often leave too much room for interpretation or difficulty in analyzing or collecting data). Asking the right questions is always a challenge, and that’s where employee focus groups may come in handy. 

Host an employee focus group 

A focus group can help narrow down questions for a survey, offer additional feedback, or share hidden insights. However, focus groups can often turn into a vent session that doesn’t really provide actionable items or a singular message. We’ve outlined a few key tips below. 

1. Have a clear objective and strong moderator: Make sure to outline the goals of the session (and provide them to everyone) ahead of time. A strong moderator can also keep the conversation on track.

2. Avoid leading questions: Leading questions might get you the answer that you want to hear but not the answer to how employees actually feel. Additionally, they may cause the moderator to appear untrustworthy. 

3. Have a clear follow up plan: Let employees know that feedback will be reviewed and put into action. 

4. Make it fun: Offer employees lunch, coffee and snacks, or a gift card for participation; they are more likely to encourage others to participate going forward. 

Stay and exit interviews 

With over 4 million employees resigning from their jobs per month, a stay interview can help identify and manage problems before they cause an employee to leave. Stay interviews are not designed to convince an unhappy employee to stay, rather they should be a regularly scheduled check-in to show interest and care in employee feedback. During a stay interview, you can ask an employee not only how they utilize current benefits but also gather ideas on new benefits by finding out their interests, daily frustrations and stresses, and learning which professional development tools may be helpful. 

Of course, despite our best efforts, employees may choose to resign for a wide array of reasons. An exit interview can help turn this into a valuable learning experience for both parties.  During the interview, you can find out more regarding why the employee felt their needs were not met and learn what attracted them to their new employer. 

Select a benefits provider with analytics 

By moving away from point-solution vendors to a benefits program with greater flexibility, you’ll enable employees to get the most out of company support and increase overall retention. A robust dashboard with analytics can determine exactly what your employees are using once put into place. The Benepass Admin Dashboard gives you real-time insights on benefits engagement. You can track overall usage, and see details by benefit, team, and individual and download reports and raw usage data to analyze the effectiveness of your benefits program.

Have any questions about demystifying the world of benefits, for yourself or your employees? Feel free to reach out to us at sales@getbenepass.com.

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Rob Marwanga

Head of Marketing

Rob is Head of Marketing at Benepass. He has years of experience in growth marketing for tech companies. He has an MBA from Kellogg and a BA from Dartmouth.

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