Third of UK employers report staff unaware of employee benefits, new research reveals

A recent study by GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, has revealed that 34% of UK employers believe their staff are unaware of or do not understand the employee benefits offered to them.

This includes a range of benefits such as pensions, healthcare, and group risk benefits like employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection, and critical illness cover. The findings underscore the necessity for employers to better educate their workforce about available benefits.

The research also highlighted that only 44% of employees feel they have a good understanding of the health and wellbeing benefits available to them. This gap in understanding can prevent employees from fully utilising the benefits when needed.

While 78% of employers actively encourage their staff to use the benefits provided, 18% leave it up to employees to initiate the take-up of benefits themselves. GRiD suggests that this hands-off approach can lead to missed opportunities, as the investment in benefits may not be fully understood, appreciated, or utilised.

How Employers Communicate Benefits

Employers use various methods to communicate employee benefits, with the most popular being:– Staff welcome packs (35%)– Information on the first day of employment (33%)– Staff handbooks (31%)– Staff noticeboards (29%)– Email campaigns (29%)– Company intranet (28%)– Promotional days run by advisers/providers (26%)

On average, employers utilise four different channels to communicate their benefits programme. GRiD advocates for more robust and routine communication strategies, leveraging both online and offline options and resources from partners, advisers, and employee liaison groups.

Plans to Improve Communication

In the coming 12 months, many employers plan to enhance their communication efforts:– 39% aim to increase encouragement to use available benefits– 36% will put more emphasis on support for all areas of health and wellbeing, including mental, financial, physical, and social– 34% plan to increase the amount of communication– 31% will boost their investment in this area

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, emphasised the importance of continuous improvement in communication: “An organisation’s workforce is not a static entity. New hires, departures, and returns from absence mean that employers must constantly strive to improve communication. This ensures that all employees know how to access and utilise their benefits, leading to better appreciation and value.”

Moxham added, “Whether or not staff choose to engage, proactive support from the organisation fosters a sense of loyalty and goodwill. Our research indicates that habitual communication of employee benefits is crucial for their true value to be recognised.”

This research highlights a significant opportunity for employers to enhance their communication strategies, ensuring that employees are fully aware of and can effectively utilise the benefits available to them.