Employee wellbeing has been creeping up the business agenda for some years. But in the wake of the pandemic, employees are seeking unprecedented connection and support from their workplace. In fact, 56% of employers have seen increased demand for wellbeing offerings from their workforce.

Added to this is the new challenge of delivering a consistent employee experience amidst hybrid working. As a result, reward strategies have skyrocketed in importance as business leaders realize that overhauling employee benefits and the systems that deliver and manage them, is integral to meeting these demands. It’s perhaps no surprise then, that employee benefits are now the number one HR investment priority.

That’s according to our new report, ‘The age of adaptability: A digital-first approach to benefits in a post-pandemic world’. It found a growing proportion of HR budgets are now being spent on tech. What’s more, 76% of organizations increased their budgets as a result of the pandemic, with a focus now on reward and benefits and digital health and wellbeing.

With employees scattered across locations and geographies it’s essential that HR teams are able to deliver good employee experience and robust benefit programs to their people. Key to this is investing in the technologies and platforms that facilitate easy access to benefits and help employees choose the support that they need the most.

Meeting shifting expectations

Amidst the ‘Great Resignation’, where competition for talent is high and many are seeking to shake up their roles and careers, HRs must provide the most attractive offer to outbid their rivals. Wellbeing and its impact on employee experience, is now integral to HR teams’ holistic offerings.

For example, social wellbeing benefits have been key to connecting employees in recent months. Now, 42% of employees would highly value employer based digital/social platforms to continue supporting social engagement and 46% would appreciate virtual support groups for those feeling lonely or isolated.

These changes are not short-term. Employers’ roles have extended beyond providing salaries. They’re now expected to be sources of social, physical, mental, and financial support. As a result, 7 in 10 organizations are planning to make investments in employee health and wellbeing a higher priority going forward.

Harnessing data to strengthen decision making

However, while employer intentions are good, many just aren’t investing in the data and analytics capabilities that will allow them to accurately respond to changing employee needs and offer a competitive, personalized benefits experience. For example, 47% of HR leaders aren’t reporting on benefit take up levels.

This means almost half of businesses are lacking the insights to know whether employee benefits spend is providing ROI and serving the needs of their workforce. Put simply, if HR teams can’t measure how employee wellbeing is improving as a result of changes to employee benefits packages, how do they know investment is having the desired effect?  

HR teams need to take ownership of their analytics, consolidating and centralizing data sources to ensure they have an accurate view of metrics across their organization.

This will unlock actionable and meaningful insights, allowing them to pivot strategies as new challenges or issues emerge and make better, more impactful long-term plans for employee benefits programs.

Next steps

HR and benefits teams have made great strides in making their reward strategies fit for purpose in a post-pandemic world. Now is the time to underpin these good intentions with robust data-enabled tech solutions that can truly elevate employee benefits offerings and create a first-class and competitive employee experience.