More effective benefits communication needed: new study

Over 95 per cent of employers believe they are responsible for communicating pensions changes to staff. However, communications gaps remain, says a new study.

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A survey of 200 business and 200 employees conducted on behalf of benefits portal Mybenefitsatwork found that while 80 per cent of employees say having a full understanding of their company benefits would improve retention, communication through staff handbooks (51%) and company induction (49%) are employers’ most popular ways of explaining the benefits available.The findings, published ahead of Pension Awareness Day, also note that while a similar number of employers (83%) believe there is a link between benefits communication and retention, 66 per cent said they did not communicate the benefits more due to lack of inclination and 44 per cent a lack of time.Ian Bird, business development director at the Foster Denovo, a national firm of financial advisers, and founder of Mybenefitsatwork, said: "The research has uncovered some interesting findings. What is clear is that employers need to become better at communicating the benefits that they offer to their staff. In doing so, their employees are likely to be more engaged and committed to their employer.“The fact that so many rely on the staff handbook to communicate their benefits is concerning. In my experience, handbooks can quickly go out of date and are an unappealing way of engaging with the employee. I truly believe that technology has an essential role to play."With so many changes currently taking place in the pensions and benefits landscape – namely automatic enrolment and pension freedom – there is a greater need to provide employees with up-to-date and accessible information about their benefits and how the legislative changes will impact them.“It is my belief that if companies are investing in the provision of benefits for their workforce, then it is essential that they communicate them. Without it, employees won’t understand or appreciate their benefits, and employers won’t get a demonstrable return on this spend."For more HR news and features from Re:locate, please click here. Read the latest on employee benefits in the upcoming autumn issue of Re:locate magazine.

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