Employers need better and faster ways to attract, motivate and retain staff. Sue Weekes looks at the difference going on-line can make and, with the help of benefits expert Nick Throp from William M Mercer, reviews some of the best sites
Who do you know who has moved to a new job for a better pension scheme and gym membership? They are component parts of an increasingly important package of benefits that can make the difference between retaining and losing a valuable employee. As the war for talent rages, HR managers know it is no longer a case of merely offering staples such as a car, health insurance and a pension and, similarly, it is no longer a case of detailing them in the staff handbook and then forgetting about them. HR managers have to be both creative and flexible in the type of benefits they offer and then vigilant in communicating what they are and their value to employees – which is where the Internet comes in.
The past 12 months has seen introduction of a wave of web sites that make it easier to reward staff and, equally important, easier to administer the reward or benefit. As well as reducing administration and saving time for the HR professional, they empower the employee enabling them to recognise the value of their personal benefits.
“The war for talent and the expectations of e-aware people that this kind of thing should be available on-line has brought about the rise in such sites,” says Nick Throp, e-communications team leader at management consultant William M Mercer. “There are some cultural reasons, too, reflecting the change between the employer being the provider of everything to being the facilitator – the Web is an ideal medium for this.”
Yet the on-line benefit sites market can be a confusing one for both the HR manager and the employee. For a start, there are two main groups of sites: those which help the HR manager manage an employee’s benefits package from the desktop, and those which enable them to go on-line and choose or purchase an appropriate reward and automate the necessary administration to go with it. In truth, there’s little mystery or magic surrounding any of them and, like any set of new tools, they are there to help you do your job better when chosen and implemented correc