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31 Jan 2023
by Jane Hulme

Attract and retain talent through inclusive reward strategies

Employee needs are changing and inclusive employers need to listen to them and provide a helping hand

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The way we view and approach the world of work has changed drastically in the past three years.

Unum’s research into the ‘sandwich generation’ estimated that more than six million people in the UK workforce — more than one in five workers — are juggling dual caring responsibilities for children and elderly relatives. And many more employees may be living with a chronic health condition or on an NHS waiting list.

Compounding this is that we’re now navigating the repercussions of the rise in the cost of living at a time of high job vacancies, meaning recruitment is very much a jobseeker's market. Employees’ needs are changing and inclusive employers need to be versatile and support them across the board — not just in their career.

To create a feeling of equality, openness and belonging in the workplace, benefits should be fair and transparent to all employees, creating a supportive and inclusive environment where individuals can bring their whole selves to work, remain and thrive.

Everyone is different

But first, employers need to recognise that different employees will have different needs.

For example, before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, almost one in three UK workers were aged 50+. Those in this age bracket will naturally have different needs from an employee benefits scheme than a new graduate in their early 20s.

Flexibility and choice

Employers therefore need a broad mix of benefits to cover a diverse range of employees with a focus on flexibility and choice. This might involve allowing staff to opt in or out depending on what’s relevant to them based on their circumstances or benefits that can be personalised and adjusted based on what each employee needs or most values at the time.

Creating inclusive employee benefits is also about flexing and adapting as the needs of your workforce evolve. Regularly monitoring your workers’ demographic profile will enable you to look for ways that individual needs and preferences can continue to be fulfilled.

Benefits for all the family

By choosing reward packages that not only benefit the employee but take into consideration their wider personal circumstances, ie partners and children, employers can increase the value of what employees receive.

For example, our wellbeing app, Help@hand, is available to employees, their partners and dependent children. Providing access to health and wellbeing services, it offers help to relieve some of the pressures on employees. Offerings like this can help to retain staff and reduce the number leaving because they feel unsupported.

Attracting talent

In our research into the Great Resignation, 40% of employees who’d changed jobs, or planned to, since the start of the pandemic said they would be attracted to a new employer by better benefits. The research also revealed that 21% of employees would like a benefits package they can access anywhere to adapt to hybrid working.

Employers should ensure they are delivering a carefully curated and inclusive rewards schemes that cater to the modern ways of working and offer a range of support services to assist with the obstacles their people are facing.

The key is for employers to know and listen to their workforce so as to offer support that goes above and beyond — which will ultimately retain and attract more talent.

In partnership with Unum

Putting people at the heart of employee benefits

Contact us today