LONDON, 06 October 2015 – Thomsons Online Benefits announces new research indicating renewed economic optimism and hopes for business growth, as 41% of enterprise companies globally look to increase employee headcount in 2015 between 1-15%. Nevertheless, to attract and retain top talent, businesses will need new strategies to engage their multi-generational workforce around the rewards they receive.  

2015 Global Employee Benefits Watch, which gathered responses from more than 300 prominent HR professionals, representing over 4 million employees across USA, EMEA and APAC, indicates that almost a third (30%) of organisations are struggling to engage employees with their benefits schemes. This is a significant challenge for businesses, as some enterprises spend the equivalent of 30% of employees’ salaries on their benefits schemes – making a negative return on this investment likely. But how can organisations do better?

The research indicates that the root of the problem lies in not having a tailored communications approach for the multi-generational workforce. Only 13% of organisations surveyed use mobile applications and videos (14%) in benefits communications, with even less using social media (5%). This is despite two thirds of UK adults owning a smartphone and this now being the most popular form of internet access1while over half of UK households now have a tablet.2

“Businesses cannot underestimate the importance of clear, accessible HR and benefits communications. We are now in the digital age; millennials, and soon Generation Z, particularly those with high technical proficiency, are becoming the dominant force in our workplaces. The demand for high quality millennials far outstrips supply, meaning the power is now in their hands. It’s imperative that businesses consider their needs alongside all other generations if they are to attract, retain and develop their talent,” said Chris Bruce, Founder & MD of Thomsons Online Benefits.

“Employees are not going to sit around and negotiate with clumsy interfaces once a year to find out what they can receive from their employer. They want HR and benefits systems that are employee centric: intuitive, visually appealing and communicate their options in a way that suits them - be this by text, YouTube or even Blippar. Employees are used to consumer grade technology – anything less is frustrating, disengaging, and fundamentally - pushing them out of the door.”

Nevertheless, there’s also hope in the research that some organisations are waking up to the value of technology and the role it can play in improving employee engagement. Almost a third (29%) of companies globally will spend more on benefits technology in 2015 than they did last year, with 55% saying that employee facing benefits portals are top of their lists for benefits technology investment.

“The suggestion that employers are reassessing the potential of technology is hugely encouraging, as is the fact that almost half of HR professionals would prefer to roll out benefits management software globally. Through doing this, organisations are putting themselves in a stronger position to engage employees across the board, while building a cohesive and universal employer brand.” concluded Chris Bruce.