So much has changed in the last 20 years, from the way benefits are communicated, to the way employees are rewarded and the benefits that top the agenda. As we celebrate providing employee benefits for 20 years, we take a look at some of the highlights below.
1998 ... and all that
It was the year that Beckham nearly lost us the World Cup with his red card, it was the year that a little known company called Google was founded, and it was the year a number of European currencies ended with the Euro waiting in the wings. It was also the year that You at Work, in its first guise, started its journey into the world of employee benefits.
Benefits for all ...
Way back then the majority of employee benefits on offer were mostly insurance based, mostly aimed at senior management and mostly provided by the much larger FTSE 100 type companies. They would have included the traditional Private Medical Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance and perhaps some discounted Motor and Home insurance given as an added extra.
However, it wasn’t long before demand increased for a more extensive range of benefits to be included in programmes for all employees, and “cafeteria” type benefits arrived from the US. They became what we know today as flexible benefits. Employees started to have choice and Healthcare Cash Plans, Healthclub Memberships, Holiday Services and Personal Loans (yes, even back then) started to make an appearance. Now, of course, thanks to technology, it’s possible to include a wide range of easy to administer, plug and play benefits and give employees choice based on their own personal circumstances.
Discount explosion ...
Before 1998, Discounts were more likely to have been sourced locally, by the Personnel Officer, such as 10% off your local eatery for lunch. Your insurance consultants may have been able to negotiate “special offers” for promotions at various times of the year such as specific Motor Breakdown & Recovery deals, Wine offers coming up to Christmas and special offers from holiday companies. However, with the rise of affinity marketing and employee benefit and discount platform providers, the ability to promote a huge variety of discounts exploded. Today, the You at Work platform, for example, has grown to over 6,000 discounts and counting!
Comms and admin ...
Communication in the early 2000s was all about the paper. You’d have a benefits booklet, perhaps a printed newsletter twice yearly to promote specific products and offers, and a few posters around the workplace. Workplace presentations became a popular way to promote benefits to employees on a one-to-one basis, or to small groups, and still are. However, nowadays, employers embrace a wide range of communication, which still includes paper, but also involves face to face and online personalised comms. You at Work’s integrated comms manager, for example, allows employers to schedule a full launch, and an ongoing benefits and discounts campaign, all from within their own platform. It can all be branded as well ….. communication has become more personal than ever!
Most administration was done on spreadsheets in the past (and still is by some companies, according to some surveys out there!) Of course, technology has transformed the way employers administer their benefits. No need for tiresome spreadsheets anymore, and all administration can be done from within your platform, with ease, in record time and with more control.
More affordable ...
With the advance of technology, costs have come down over the years considerably. There is no real need to pay extensive consultancy and administration fees anymore. It’s possible to have a comprehensive range of plug and play benefits, a vast array of discounts with an engaging communication programme, self-service tools that put you in control, and all at a very affordable price. This stands whether you have 50 or 50,000 employees. We are proud of the fact that our customers, now over 1,200 and growing, include not just household names but a huge number of smaller businesses who are able to provide benefits to their employees to compete with the “big boys”
Looking to the future
With financial wellbeing so high on the agenda, we see the rise of benefits such as workplace savings and financial education in the workplace. Plus, with mental health such an important topic, wellness in the workplace is likely to continue to dominate the employee benefit headlines for the foreseeable future. Employee benefit platforms will also have to continue to change and adapt to give the more sophisticated user a more sophisticated and personal experience.
Now, as the Government prepares the country to leave the European Union, unemployment forecast to be at its lowest for four decades, and the mindsets of a new generation pushing boundaries, it promises to be a very exciting next twenty years. We will continue to keep up with the ever-changing landscape to ensure we help you engage your staff, unite them and retain them.
Finally, thank you
So, as we sit here celebrating 20 years in an ever changing industry, and sipping tea from our best china (traditional for 20 years apparently), we want to say thank you. First, to all of our employees for giving us their loyalty and commitment. And, finally to our customers, for trusting in us to deliver your benefits programme with creativity, integrity and tenacity. Our new hashtag is #itsallaboutyou and it really is, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Until the next 20 years ... let’s look back again then.
If you’d like to get started on your own employee benefits journey with us then we’d love to talk to you.