4 employee benefit trends to watch over the next 12 months
This year’s Reward Gateway Summit showcased the latest perspectives on employee benefits from today’s leading HR minds and engagement experts. Here are some of the ideas that were discussed.
1. Time is money
Benefits that offer time back to employees are popular. Holiday Trading is an initiative that several companies have introduced, allowing eligible employees to trade in holiday allowance for cash or exchange cash for extra days of holiday.
Another idea is a Wellbeing Day, where staff are given an extra day of leave to do something they feel is important to their own individual health and mental wellbeing. And staff can be given more control over their own time via Pick n Mix Bank Holidays, allowing them to choose when to take these allocated days throughout the year.
2. Spanning the employee lifecycle is key
Companies often begin their approach to employee benefits by introducing initiatives that cater more towards families, either through the type of retailers on offer for employee discounts or things like salary advance and parental support loans.
This is fine, of course, but may not engage a wide employee demographic. By planning a wider range of initiatives that suit different tastes and age ranges, you not only give current employees more options, you also stand a better chance of attracting the type of talent you want to recruit.
Promoting initiatives at key points in the employee journey is a smart move. The employee joining stage is a good opportunity to discuss your wider employee value proposition and ensure that employees know exactly what value is available to them from day one.
3. Branding makes a big difference
If employees are to fully engage with the benefits package available to them, they need to feel like it belongs to them. The best businesses take time to personalise their benefits platform so it reflects their brand and speaks directly to their employees.
Integrating a brand’s colours throughout the platform makes it feel immediately familiar to anyone logging on for the first time as an extension of the employer brand.
4. Getting creative
At a time when businesses are trying to get everything they can from their budget, it really pays to think creatively and come up with interesting, cost-effective initiatives that stand out from the crowd.
A ‘Work From Anywhere’ programme for four weeks of the year can encourage staff to take a working holiday and give the company extra input for its social media feed when employees sent in their snaps and videos from abroad.
Benefits offerings should evolve, and there are always new opportunities and avenues to engage employees beyond their salary. When things start to feel stagnant or not garnering as much attention as before, it’s time to get the creative juices flowing and see what fresh initiatives could make a difference.
One final tip from Catrin Lewis, head of global internal communications and engagement and employee engagement specialist Reward Gateway:
“My top employee benefits tip for businesses today is to try to build a good relationship with your chief executive and help them understand your benefits strategy. I speak regularly with our chief executive to equip him with information so that he’s then able to relay key details in his communication with other managers, staff and internal stakeholders.
“He also keeps me updated on the overall business strategy so I can think of the right benefits to support our collective vision for the company. For instance, diversity and inclusion has been a big piece for us recently, so we need to think about initiatives to enable that and make sure our benefits strategy and wider business strategy are perfectly aligned.”
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