I attended the REBA innovation day earlier this week where leading reward and benefits professionals explored the latest thinking on benefits technology and data. Aided by some insightful speakers and demonstrations of innovative new products from start-ups and established benefits providers.
Three messages in particular stood out for me:
- We’ll have to work hard to encourage collaboration and innovation. A five generation workforce is new ground. We haven’t all grown up freely sharing knowledge and collaborating. For over 35s, that’s ‘cheating’. It’s not just about physical workspaces and enabling technology. Reward has a role to play in changing behaviours. As Duncan Brown concluded later in the day, financial incentives (as part of a range of employee rewards) engage employees to perform and innovate.
- It's all about Apps. There’s plenty of technical innovation happening in the benefits world, and many speakers showcased apps. Apps to connect employees with a recognition and benefits portals, the entire staff handbook, or neat interactive financial planning tools. We heard an employee smartphone with pre-loaded app costs less than £3 per month. Given we’re already accessing an average of 9 apps daily, that’s a small price to pay for a connected workforce.
- Digital solutions can help mitigate the financial advice gap. The FCA has placed this burden on employers. And it's estimated to affect over 19m people. We're likely to still require face to face solutions. But given 60% needing advice are under 30, digital financial education solutions present a significant opportunity.
The day ended with the do’s and don’ts when it comes to employee data. I applaud the panel of speakers. Not only did they give the majority of us something to think about doing differently, they made us laugh.
A worthwhile way to spend a day.
Photo by Steve Johnson.