Nearly two thirds of employers have made no changes to their benefits tech in response to COVID-19

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, 62% of employers still said they have made no change to their benefits tech or had decreased their use of it over the last year, according to research from Buck, an integrated HR and benefits consulting, technology, and administration services firm.


The findings are part of a recent report produced by Buck and the Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA), looking at how reward and employee benefits systems and data are evolving.


In addition to the limited changes in the use of benefits tech in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 6 in 10 employers (59%) said they also made no changes to how they communicate with their staff about benefits. In contrast, only 33% said they increased their use of benefits tech and only 5% significantly increased it.


However, nearly two-thirds of employers (63%) acknowledged that the main barrier to employees engaging with benefits was a lack of awareness over what is available, while 10% cited poor communication. As a key component of benefits tech solutions, these findings reinforce the view that targeted, personalised communication will need to be a core focus if reward packages are going to demonstrate ongoing return on investment. Fortunately, 43% of respondents said that improving the personalisation of employee communication will be a top area of focus for reward technology in the next 12 months. Effective utilisation of the tailored engagement opportunities made available through benefits tech systems will be critical to ensuring individuals both feel informed about, and remain connected with, their benefits.


John Deacon, Head of Employee Benefits in the U.K. at Buck, comments:

“Remote working has caused a profound shift in employees’ day-to-day engagement. With limited face-to-face contact, it’s harder for employers to understand the needs of their workforce and to communicate details of their benefit offerings to staff. Investment in benefits tech is key to addressing this issue.


“Benefits technology can provide employers with enormous value by identifying whether their current offering is having the desired impact and highlighting any gaps in uptake. This will allow employers to boost engagement by creating targeted, personalised communications that resonate with their staff.


“Businesses need to take this opportunity to re-evaluate their benefits provision, or risk getting left behind, as they will be unable to offer the benefits their employees desire, which can create problems with retention and attracting new talent down the line.”