20 Feb

Segmenting your workforce – a dream or downright disaster?

In line with employee benefits ‘Wealth at Work Week’, we’re taking a look at some of the key debates surrounding financial wellbeing at work.

During a recent interview with Employee benefits, Jonathon Watts, Director of Wealth at Work discusses how the new pension freedoms introduced in 2015, despite offering individuals a lot more freedom and greater options at retirement, also make things much more complex.

As a result, employers should focus on (1) providing staff with a unique employee benefits package that will meet their individual retirement needs and (2) educate them on how to best utilise their employee benefits to generate the most income at retirement.

But of course, it’s not realistic for companies to provide a unique package to each and every individual employee, and educate them individually on how to best utilise this.

So, what can they do?

Segmenting the workforce

At first thought, this may seem completely ludicrous - as our twitter feeds, news stories and linked in timelines are filled with empowering stories of gender equality and the end of stereotyping, it would almost seem like taking a step backwards by returning to segregation in the workplace.

But on closer inspection, that may not be the case.  

Through segmenting staff, not on age or gender, but on their life stage, employers will be able to gain a better understanding of the specific life stage their staff are it, whether that be purchasing a first home, starting a family, or preparing for retirement, and provide a much more personalised package that meets their needs. For example, individuals who may be starting a family or purchasing their first home, may be more suited towards flexible working benefits or help with setting up an ISA for house savings. Whereas those nearing the end of their career, may prefer financial advice for how best to utilise their income at retirement.  

Importantly, care should also be taken to ensure that employers regularly keep up to date with the different life stages of staff, and ensure they are continuously updating their benefits package and options available to staff as they progress through different life stages.

And the exact same can be said when it comes to communicating with staff and educating them on the benefits available. Through communicating with employees about the benefits that are directly applicable to them – or those that they think would appeal to them – employers will be able to ensure staff feel appreciated, more engaged and in turn, feel greater loyalty towards the company. And whilst technology is playing an greater role in the workplace than ever before, it's important to remember that there is nothing like personal, face-to-face communication when it comes to discussing staff benefits - whether that be small seminars and workshops with groups on a similar life stage or on a more one-to-one basis, a personal approach is key.  

So, as we try to move beyond a standardised benefits package, perhaps the key to success lies within that dreaded word we've tried to escape over the past few years. Perhaps segmentation isn't such a terrible thought after all?

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