Technology has changed how we navigate our lives – how we communicate with family and friends, shop, pay bills and connect with healthcare providers. Technology also played an essential role in business continuity during the pandemic, allowing employees to work remotely and collaborate without in-person interaction.
Employees today use online tools for convenience, efficiency and speed, and have come to expect the tools provided by their employer to have a similar consumer-grade experience.
Rapid digitalisation in the workplace has placed pressure on the technology strategy and accompanying data strategy of organisations in the region (Figure 1).1 The digitalised employee experience (EX) needs to be duly considered by organisations in their benefit strategy – allowing employees to learn about, manage and access their benefits remotely. This may be daunting for organisations that view technology adoption as complex and costly in terms of implementation. But it doesn’t have to be.
In Asia Pacific, only 12% of organisations have a “Transformative EX”, where their EX is integrated with business strategy, and they have invested in technology to deliver better business and people outcomes. One-third of employers are striving for this, but are not there yet. (Figure 2).2
Only one in seven Asia Pacific employers are currently using market-leading technology to deliver benefits and self-assess the effectiveness of their benefit strategy. However, enhancing tools and technology to improve employees’ experience with benefits is one of the top strategic objectives in the next two years.3
Employers are looking to better leverage technology by planning or considering new digital tools and benefit innovations (Figure 3).
As an employer, to successfully introduce technology into your employee benefit strategy, here are key features you should look for:
Your employees play a more active role in their benefits if the experience is as intuitive and immersive as using social media or online shopping. A one-stop application where benefits enrolment, filing and submission of documents or claims, wellbeing and rewards programs are accessible 24/7 and on the go through a dashboard, can encourage and increase user productivity within the portal.
Software that can demographically segment your diverse workforce, curate and deliver relevant benefit information and flexible choices – at the right time – can enhance their experience with the benefits portal. AI-powered tools can help your employees decide which benefit options best suit their needs by excluding those that are irrelevant to them. For example, a graduate in their 20s may prefer to see benefit options that support upskilling. On the other hand, an employee who has welcomed a new-born may be more interested in family-related benefits.
Big data and feedback channels can be available to your organisation to track employee satisfaction with their existing benefits, trace their usage patterns and case activity. Partnered with analytics, these can better drive employee experience as you are able to offer benefit choices that matter and introduce benefits that are attractive to your workforce.
Getting immediate answers is crucial to platform satisfaction. Tech support through interactive chatbots or FAQ pages should have easy-to-understand answers to common questions or solutions to problems regularly faced by your employees. If an escalation is necessary, live help or high-touch support should be available and a click away. A feedback channel where employees may voice non-urgent concerns or suggestions to make the portal or organisation processes better is also important.
A secure digital platform can offer superior protection against cyber risks such as frauds, phishing and data breaches. An integrated platform can also reduce risk exposure and eliminate manual intervention, providing a higher standard of data privacy and more robust data hygiene.
Communication of key HR topics such as benefits, wellbeing, career and Total Rewards can be an interactive and engaging experience for employees through technology. Combining the right mix of graphics, audio, video, documents, text and even gamification is a compelling and entertaining way to get information across while driving traffic towards and engagement in the portal. Strategise your benefits communication so that it stands out and resonates with your employees’ realities and consistently communicate this beyond open enrolment.
Technology will continue to evolve how the workforce function in their personal lives and at work, therefore, organisations must consider investing in software and connectivity to build and deliver a quality employee experience. Doing so will help employees be more productive, feel connected, and be able to select the benefits that serve their needs and wants – anytime and anywhere.
Our series will wrap up by diving further into the area of benefit communication and its importance in improving the employee experience.