When employees feel valued, their commitment and enthusiasm grows - increasing staff retention, performance and productivity.
Without a doubt, employee benefits are an unbreakable part of that employee equation, and when they work, they make the workplace experience more engaging. Brands are therefore continually innovating more attractive and exciting job perks – whether it's desk-side massages or dogs allowed in the office. These things matter a lot to certain segments of your hiring pool. According to a report from La Salle Network, Hiring Millennial Talent in 2019, for this key demographic, ‘better benefits’ at target firms are cited as one of the top reasons they would move job.
But of course, no-one wants to work somewhere just because they offer organic breakfasts. Rather, they want to work for organisations that offer tangible benefits – structured help with their finances, for instance, or flexible working arrangements. According to a recent survey from the research firm OnePoll, flexible working hours, bigger pension contributions and extra holiday for long service are amongst the top work perks employees in the UK really care for. Young adults highlight the need for help with housing, while older generations are more concerned with private healthcare, for example.
So while fun office perks might initially attract some employees, what people ultimately find of value is working for organisations with an open, strong and supportive corporate culture that puts employee happiness center stage. When done in this context, a benefits programme will lead to a more flexible, healthy and inclusive working environment for all.
The unique makeup of your firm
For a benefits programme to be successful, the business really needs to communicate why any new perk is being introduced, and how it will help promote employee well-being. It also needs to actively listen to feedback from the team. It is far easier to address any difficulties at the outset of this process to create sustainable and positive change.
Sets of benefits will also vary considerably across different organisations, and for good reason. Remember that each and every organisation is unique, so all efforts should be made to understand and respond to these differences. Soliciting opinions from employees should give you actionable insight into what benefits are most sought after by what particular employees.
Work Glint has done shows that by running surveys regularly, and with all levels of an organisation’s workforce, you can get a quick ‘pulse’ on what is positively engaging your employees in their work, which is the ideal basis for planning and monitoring the success of your HR actions.
In-depth look at fostering a happy workforce
Once your organisation has gathered a pool of preliminary data, you can begin to analyze exactly why certain benefits are attractive to certain employees and demographics, while others don’t. This dataset can be gathered through a combination of both surveys and in-person interviews with teams.
Regardless of the method, there should be two-way communication to gain genuine feedback. Once these insights are gleaned and analysed, you can establish which benefits would best match your organisation’s workforce profile, and establish your unique engagement schema and plans.
It is impossible to take up every issue at once. Analytics can help you pick out a few key areas you can address successfully, based on your culture, values and the survey findings. For a team where health and wellbeing are ranked highly in terms of impact on engagement levels, look at providing gym membership, yoga classes at lunchtime or stress management training, for example.
Benefit programmes are not a case of ‘set and forget’
The implementation of any benefits programme needs to be handled carefully. Once launched, you need to regularly communicate to your staff that these perks have been introduced as a result of their feedback. This demonstrates to your workforce that you are listening to them and taking their concerns and requests on board. It is vital that they know their feedback is being listened to and, more importantly, being acted on.
In addition, benefits programmes are not static and may require tweaking and tailoring, especially when being bedded in. Use the first few months as a pilot period to gather more views to ensure you are hitting the mark, and continue to check in with staff regularly on what your team feels is missing or what could help improve things.
Transparency is paramount
So the verdict’s clear. It’s by investing in understanding your organisation’s engagement profile though systematically surveying and communicating with your employees that you can build truly meaningful benefits programmes.
And when powered by employee feedback, benefits programmes and engagement initiatives can help support a sense of belonging within your workplace – and create what we all want: an environment where all employees thrive and perform at their best.
The Jim Barnett is CEO at employee engagement leader Glint, now part of LinkedIn.