benefitsResearch from Specsavers has revealed that many businesses are not yet ready to leave their paper-based options behind completely, despite online benefits becoming increasingly popular for their ease of management.

The study found that 55% of employers like to offer employees a choice of either paper-based or online systems to manage their own benefits, while 34% of employers said that they prefer to use one specific method.

Based on the views of more than 200 heads of companies and HR directors across the UK, the research showed that employers are using a mix of communications when it comes to communicating benefits.

It revealed that 65% of employers use their intranet to include information regarding employee benefits and 63% use email or online methods. However, 67% still use an induction pack.

Commenting on the findings, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare Corporate Account Manager, Laura Butler, said:

“While companies are embracing new technology and are keen to distil information digitally, they are still retaining the old paper systems while bringing in new online options.”

In regards to allowing staff to claim and make use of their entitlements, 51% of employers use a mix of online and paper systems, according to the study. Almost a third (32%) of employers have transferred to online methods and just under a quarter use traditional paper-based systems.

Butler added:

“A significant 40% use somebody else to arrange the details, a HR manager, for example, or a third-party administrator. This does raise the question of whether there is a better use of a HR managers’ time than spending it making appointments for employees.”

The study also found that 34% of employers believe that their employees would rather make their own benefits arrangements using an online system, while a quarter of respondents claim that their staff would enjoy a mix of both paper and online methods, with just 4% saying that their employees would prefer a purely-paper based model.

When it comes to the advantages of administering employee benefits online, 79% of those surveyed feel that the biggest advantage is that it saves them time, closely followed by ease of use (76%) and environmental and cost saving aspects (70%).

Butler concluded:

“Choice does seem to be a major factor overall. Employers like to have various options or alternatives, to benefit both themselves and their employees.”