Questions every HR manager should ask benefit platforms

A quick summary:

Investing in wellbeing initiatives, new perks or just about anything that revamps the employee experience takes careful consideration. You obviously want a provider, platform or package which ticks as many boxes as possible.

But where do you start? How do you avoid handing over your business’s hard-earned cash for a set of unused, unwanted perks? The answer to those questions was the inspiration for this handy checklist!

This isn’t just a blog post, but a curated list of questions you should be asking employee benefit providers and platforms before investing in their tools. And you’re probably wondering, “But how do you know what I care about and what I have to ask?”

Well, to put it candidly, we’ve spoken with thousands of HR managers over the years. Each with their own set of priorities when it comes to new benefits for employees. This means we’re well-versed in what it is leaders need.

How to use this checklist

We recommend thoroughly reading through this list of questions and the reasons you should ask them. They have been paramount to us as an employee wellbeing platform in speaking with HR managers and giving them the information they want.

No fluff, just straight facts and figures!

Additionally, jot down the questions below on a piece of paper to ask a benefits provider or platform at a later date. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the questions.

Two employees talking at work

Q1: What do your usage statistics look like?

Kicking things off, it’s important you always ask about usage statistics. Now, you might be thinking “Why would I care how many people use their platform?” but the reason is simple. Some platforms will have thousands of non-active users.

This essentially means that some platforms are taking advantage of companies like yours, who’re paying for all team members, but not receiving any real value. No encouragement from the platform, nada.

Think about it. If you have 150 employees, and they’re all signed up to a benefits platform, yet only 50 of them genuinely make use of the platform, you’re overspending! You’re also excluding employees from using benefits, but more on that soon.

The future of benefit providers is to support companies with exactly what they need, and for exactly who needs it. It’s something we do here at Heka. You, as the account manager, are in control of how many employees have access to our platform.

Q2: How does your platform positively impact employees?

Next up, let’s talk about why it’s important to find out the positive difference it has on employees, as individuals, with unique needs. When investing in a platform, you should prioritise the impact it has on your people first and foremost.

“85% of employees feel their mental and physical health has improved since using Heka”

Does a particular platform or provider meet the needs and expectations of your employees? You might not know without first speaking with them. If you haven’t done this, it’s highly recommended.

“I have been meaning to go back to the gym and Heka has pushed me to do so” — Heka user

We run into many HR managers who think they know what employees want from a benefits package. But it’s best to be completely certain! You’ll often find that employees want a range of parental benefits and wellbeing perks like gym memberships.

This isn’t exclusively true of every organisation, but it’s a common theme with many HR managers we speak with. Start by asking a platform what it does for employees. Does it improve health and wellbeing? Find ways for them to spend time with family. Do their range of benefits make life just that more affordable?

“Over 90% of employees would be disappointed if their employer stopped their access to Heka”

Understanding the positive impact it has on your people is crucial in determining if it’s a worthwhile investment. Some platforms offer vouchers for high-street brands. This might make bills less expensive, but it doesn’t support things like mental health and wellbeing.

Employees during a yoga session

Q3: How does your platform positively impact business?

Whilst the needs of your workforce should come first, we cannot forget to question the impact it has on your business. What we mean is things like employee retention, engagement and productivity.

"A place to find things that make you happy" — Tumelo

After all, the more engaged and productive employees are, the better they perform. These are all tangible impacts that a robust benefits platform can have on your company. It’s precisely why we refer to it as an investment; an investment in your people.

“97% of companies say Heka positively impacts their culture”

As an HR manager, you should ask how a benefits provider will impact your business. Ask for real life examples too. Do they have any case studies that answer this question for them? You want to hear from other organisations what it has done for them.

Ultimately, you want to ensure a benefits platform makes a difference for your business as a whole. Are employees sticking around much longer now? Does this mean your company can get twice as much achieved?

“93% say Heka is an inclusive benefit which solves the wellbeing needs of their entire team”

As far as mental health is concerned, Deloitte says for every £1 spent, companies see a £5 return on their investment. These are the kind of numbers you want to learn about when speaking to a benefits platform.

Q4: Are costs transparent and fair?

After asking about the positive impacts a benefits platform can have on your people and the business, it’s time to enquire about costs. Different benefits platforms will have different costs involved.

As we have covered already, some will charge for every employee, others will let you choose how many employees can use the platform. Regardless, the costs involved must be transparent and fair.

If it appears a benefits provider is intentionally making things complicated, it’s a sign that they value sign-ups over genuine users. Always request a full breakdown of the price involved and make a judgement over the impact it will bring — based on our two previous questions.

Finally, the same can be said for the value of experiences and services within a platform. Too often, certain benefit providers hide the value of a benefit behind a point system.

This approach can be rather sneaky on the platform's part. Choosing to overvalue services for the sake of profit instead of putting users first.

But not all employees fall for these tactics, and it will leave your team disengaged, feeling like they aren’t getting a good deal.

When it comes to us here at Heka, we prefer to keep things simple.  

man running downhill

Q5: What makes your benefits/initiatives inclusive for our workforce?

Now, we can’t forget the high demand for inclusive benefits. Since the pandemic, inclusivity has become a very high priority for employees. Everything from company perks to ways of working. People want to feel supported, included and equal.

During conversations with benefits providers, you should always enquire about the inclusivity of their benefits. Most workforces, likely including yours, will have a diverse group of employees, of varying ages, backgrounds and more.

What appeals to millennials, for example, may not appeal to those from older generations. And that’s totally fine. Millennials may be thinking about starting a family, Baby Boomers are probably looking toward retirement — priorities change depending on who you speak with in your company.

Because of this, find out precisely what perks are available to your workforce, should you choose to invest. Do they provide benefits for new parents? Are there perks for supporting physical wellbeing for all ages?

Top tip: look for a platform that continuously updates its offering. Here at Heka, we’re forever adding brand new experiences to our platform for users. Something new that fits into our 50+ categories of health and wellbeing.

man on a computer

Q6: Are there any free experiences users can make the most of?

Now, it’s okay to invest in a platform that provides exactly what your team needs — that should be the basis for your chosen provider. However, there are some platforms that go above and beyond, offering free experiences or add-ons to an agreed package.

We won’t say any names, but there’s a certain wellbeing platform that offers a tonne of free experiences for employees... things like mental health consultations and time with wellness app trials.

These kinds of add-ons should influence your decision on a benefits platform. It demonstrates that providers are truly on your side when it comes to supporting and rewarding employees.

We recommend steering clear of platforms that require complicated upfront costs and create numerous barriers to using their perks.

Benefits such as cash plans are cheap because they make it difficult for users to get true value from their benefits. We recommend thinking about whether this is the type of benefit you’d be proud to introduce.

Instead, you could look for those who welcome employees to try new experiences and make it as easy as possible for employees to see real value in their benefits. After all, it’s trial and error that will help your team find out what works for them when it comes to wellbeing or everyday perks.

They know what works best for them, or what could be best for them. The moral of the story is don’t limit your employees by choosing the wrong platform.

Q7: How much support is available from our account manager?

Like any HR tool or system, a lack of support can be damaging to your experience. You come away not sure how it works and if it’s really worth the cost. This is a complaint we hear from HR managers all the time.

Because of this, we can only speak for ourselves when we say we take our account management very seriously. We recognise that by offering exceptional customer service, we can help employees receive the best experience of our platform.

Most HR departments are very busy juggling hundreds of responsibilities. The last thing a team like yours needs is to be concerned about a benefits platform. Therefore, when deciding on a provider, always question the support available.

Does it allow for a hands-off experience? What is the turnaround time for a ticket or email to customer support? If you are raising an issue on behalf of your employees, they will only wait so long before blaming your business for the poor response.

Don’t allow a benefits platform to tarnish your reputation as an employer. You need to invest in a platform that represents your level of care for employees when it comes to benefits and rewards.

Here’s what Louise from Finura said about our onboarding process when joining Heka: “The onboarding process with Heka is great, simple, easy, and intuitive! It’s important our team felt educated on exactly what was available to them”

When asked about account management: “Having a dedicated account manager for Finura means you always have a person at the end of an email, phone or video meeting.” which demonstrates just how important support is for our customers.

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