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Almost three-fifths (56%) of employers cite attracting and retaining talent as the top objective for their benefits strategy in 2019, compared to 82% in 2018, according to research by Thomsons Online Benefits.

Its Innovation generation: The big HR tech disconnect 2019/20 report, which surveyed 380 global HR and reward professionals with responsibilities in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Caribbean and Oceania, also found that a further 56% had enhancing employee engagement as their key priority for 2019.

This compares to 52% who listed promoting employee health and wellbeing as a top objective, and 40% who ranked driving business performance as the most important goal. Almost three in 10 (28%) cited an aim to reinforce corporate culture.

Three-fifths (56%) of employers spend more than 15% of employees’ base salary on benefits; however, 50% either do not know, or do not measure, the return-on-investment (ROI)

In terms of employee health and wellbeing, 33% of respondents collect staff data from wearable devices, such as Fitbits and heart rate monitors; this is predicted to increase to 81% within the next three years. By 2020, 83% of employers plan to also collect data that is generated by building sensors, based on employees’ footfall or desk time, for example, in order to create a more engaging and healthy working environment.

Among the 60 UK-based respondents, 44% have used people data insights to improve employee engagement, and 31% have used this information to bolster staff productivity. A further 62% have bettered their reward programme after looking at employee interactions with their benefits platform.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of global organisations use employee data to monitor staff performance, while 61% use this information to track engagement. A further 65% collect this data using employee engagement survey results, while 56% look at employee benefits statistics, such as take-up rates and scheme engagement scores.

Matthew Jackson, vice president, client solutions at Thomsons Online Benefits, said: “There’s a common misconception that digitalisation and increasing automation will lead to job losses. Our research indicates that when it comes to HR, this simply isn’t the case, at least not in the near to mid-term. Instead, we will see an evolution of skills as businesses increasingly look to HR teams to supply data-based insights that can play a real role in measuring and informing people strategy.

“At present, having people analytics skills within the HR function is optional, but soon they will be imperative. The significant budgets that HR teams are handling are simply too large not to track, and the potential for better, data-led decision-making is too big to ignore.”

 

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