Zest for rewards and benefits

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it – everyone has heard this. But when it comes to employee benefits portals, the market is crying out for a root-and-branch overhaul


Many in the rewards and benefits arena simply aren’t aware that employee reward systems have long become outdated and as a result they’re failing to even come close to achieving the benefits sold at the onset.

The real concern, however, is that it’s become a market where busy human resources directors (HRDs) have largely been dictated to by suppliers. It’s a market that has been allowed to continue as is, without challenge. Lengthy implementation times, high project and consultancy costs, paper-based communications rather than digital are all too commonplace. Indeed, in many systems the employees don’t even have access to their benefits on their chosen devices.

But while HRDs are tired of their requests falling on deaf ears, the cost of this outdated state of affairs is more than just administrative hassle. The way employers present their benefits says a lot about them. Make it difficult for employees to either access their reward, change or personalise it to their needs – an increasing priority for millennials – and the impression can be that their employers don’t care. When people feel uncared for, they feel disengaged, productivity drops and ultimately they will leave.

When people are the number-one investment for any organisation (typically 60 per cent of all their expenses), and the direct and indirect cost of replacing each lost employee can reach upwards of £30,000, according to Oxford Economics, it’s effectively a business miss not to have a benefits solution that meet needs and expectations of employees.

What’s required now is change. Employers need to use modern technology, which is better and cheaper than the tech they are currently offered, while employees themselves now expect and appreciate the value of a much better experience.

That’s why Zest believes the solutions we offer are laying down the gauntlet to the rest of the industry, by showing the old incumbents what HRDs really deserve. A modern solution that instantly presents the data employers need, delivering world-class benefits uptake and an excellent return on investment will consign the old ways to history. All this puts HRDs in complete control of their own system and benefits programme.

But better than all this is the fact that modern, workplace-ready benefits technology enables organisations to really take their benefits offering much further by allowing actual strategic benefits planning. Many companies see spikes in attrition after six months. With Zest they can now help to mitigate this by, for instance, pre-communicating a campaign around a new benefit to ensure advance knowledge about its value and therefore drive early buy-in.

Companies want truly to understand their employees and see which benefits they are engaging with and the ones adding no value to the proposition. With Zest that information is available instantly at the press of a button, avoiding the need for complex and time-wasting support requests.

With all the data suggesting staff who understand their benefits are more engaged and feel more valued as a result, the transformative impact that a good reward system can deliver cannot be underestimated. One company we’re working with was spending £2 million a year just to replace their staff due to attrition levels. Re-engaging staff with their benefits, by giving them better visibility of and access to perks they have, has already seen the system paid for many times over.

At a time when HRDs are in an ever-present battle to manage benefits costs – recent research by Reward magazine found that 60 per cent of rewards heads say cost is their biggest barrier – we believe the tables need turning. Employers shouldn’t need to pay elsewhere for a simple task that could be easily automated.

Zest frees up time, allows trends to be spotted, creates better planning and enables rewards heads to do everything they need by themselves. Ultimately this means freed-up, not tied-up, budgets that allow for bolstering, not scaling back, the reward offerings employees can access. What’s not to like about this?

For more information please visit zestbenefits.com