According to numerous surveys and reports, many organisations are planning to expand their workforce in 2015. This means competition for top recruits is set to increase. One of the biggest challenges for businesses will be to keep new and existing employees motivated, engaged and happy to stay put.

To do this, employers need to create a working environment where employees feel productive and know that their efforts to work towards common company goals are recognised and rewarded.

Globally, we have seen engagement levels among employees improving. This is largely because employers are more aware of the key drivers of engagement. For example, career opportunities, pay and employee benefits, brand reputation, and innovation.

The increased use of HR and benefits technology by employers has also made it easier to boost engagement. Online benefits management and employee engagement platforms, like our own Darwin™, can improve employee engagement in a number of ways.

Significant salary increases are unlikely to materialise in the coming months. Instead, companies are focusing on their benefits offering. This is not just a question of considering the contents of the package, but also how they communicate its value to their staff.

From our own research we know that employees typically undervalue their benefits package by as much as 5.4% of basic pay.

Online benefits systems give employees instant access to the contents of their benefits package. This enables them to make choices about the benefits that are most value to them as individuals.

We recently worked with Holiday Extras, winner of the KEiBA Employer of the Year 2012 award. They have been listed in ‘The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work for’ six years in a row.

This is a company that truly understands the importance of an excellent working environment to keep employees motivated and engaged. Every aspect of their corporate culture reflects their core principles of ‘innovation, inspiration, people and success.’

However, their previous benefits programme was underperforming. It was delivering low levels of engagement and creating administrative challenges. Holiday Extras decided to move to a new system. They wanted it to give staff greater freedom of benefits choice, without adding to the admin processes.

Working with the Holiday Extras team, we implemented my.extras. This was their online, flexible benefits platform, through which their 400 employees, based in locations all around the UK, could engage. Underpinned by our Darwin™ software, the system now gave staff access to their benefits 24/7.

During the two-week launch period, 82% of employees logged into the site to choose their new benefits. Take up increased across all benefits, including a rise of 83% in pension participation. As well as the improved engagement, the system handled the admin processes, freeing up valuable HR time.

Big Data is set to be another important trend in the months ahead. With a technology-based platform, HR teams are able to collect huge amounts of information they can analyse to improve business performance, or to address areas that need improvement. It can also provide real-time performance reviews. These are known to have a positive impact on employee engagement.

Many companies are now using gamification to incentivise staff in order to boost sales or productivity, and ultimately support engagement. This can also be managed through an online HR system.

In the war for talent, employers and their HR teams are battling to attract and retain the leaders of the future, who will bring the skills and expertise to secure long-term growth and prosperity. Technology could prove their most powerful weapon.