As a manager or HR executive, the importance of employee benefit and reward programmes are not lost on you. You have seen the statistics and they confirm with resounding gusto that employee engagement is the number one priority for boosting the bottom line. The boardroom vote is YES! to staff engagement. This much is clear.
What might not be as clear are the different directions your company’s engagement plan may go. There are countless employee rewards schemes and many focal points you can benefit from. The message you want to convey can often get lost in translation or buried in the pile of research, especially when the message comes down to numbers and statistics.
What returns can you expect from your investment? How much are you willing to put into it – not just in terms of pounds and pence, cost and compensation, but also in consideration and concern, employee equity and value?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What is your fundamental focus?
- Do you know your employees, the team culture and the breakdown of demographics well enough to determine what your workplace’s staff engagement strategy should be and what benefits to include?
Trends shift with each passing generation, and since then, the pandemic goalposts have migrated even more. But is the shift to the left or right; is it pushed back or pulled forward?
In a post-pandemic world, a scenario we were not prepared for, Jon Maddison, managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at Achievers, says:
“If organisations are to weather the pandemic’s storm, they’ll need to concentrate on keeping their managers and employees aligned and motivated. To make sure that company culture is a unifying and motivating force, firms will have to remain fixated on engagement by encouraging employee recognition and rewards at all levels.”
This is a poignant statement steeped in wisdom from our perspective. Let’s look now at some of the likely focal points for excellent employee engagement, for any time period, through the alignment of organisation and employee value systems and personal choice of currency to identify what the smartest benefits and rewards are for a profitable ROI (return on investment).
Benefits for the employee
There are myriad potential offers you can provide your employees, some of which are:
- Lifestyle benefits
- Flexible work hours
- Financial planning services
- Retail/service discount partnerships
- Health and wellbeing
- Mental health programme and support
- Fitness, e.g. gym membership contribution, ‘cycle to work’ scheme
- Onsite perks
- Free coffee bar / onsite barista
- Healthy food choices, e.g. fresh fruit provision
- ‘Take a break’ space (entertainment, e.g. table tennis, foosball, tv, video games)
- Remuneration package
- Competitive wage
- Retirement/pension contribution
- Health/dental insurance
- Company stock shares
- Transportation and technology packages
- Annual leave – competitive leave allowance
- Statutory/bank holidays
- Bonus days
- Work anniversary
- Health leave
- Physical (sick)
- Mental (stress)
Types of rewards on offer
- Pay raises
- Monthly incentives
- Competition spot prizes
- Gift/treat platform
- The end of year gift or event, e.g. the ‘Christmas do’
‘Feel good’ strategic policies
- Organisational core values
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Recognition and celebrating ‘wins’
- Learning and development resource and encouragement
- Charitable giving/volunteering
- Environmental practices, e.g. zero carbon, zero waste, circular economy
- Nature protection/conservation scheme
The biblical maxim ‘you reap what you sow’ (Galatians 6:7) waxes true when your personnel bask in the warm glow of contentment and job satisfaction. Organisations will likewise reap exponentially from a well-executed employee engagement strategy that’s sewn (sown) into the fabric of the workplace.
Rewarding benefits for the business
Organisational rewards may include:
- Multiplied bankable revenue
- Cost efficiency savings by the thousands, millions, and billions
- Favourable employee retention
- Increased productivity
- Heightened morale
- Fostering pride and belonging, in the workplace and brand
- Reputation boost
- Partner and customer satisfaction
- Strengthened market share
Any of these benefits for an organisation is a win-win because each has a ‘domino’ effect on the other. To rephrase, one creates another then another.
Statistics and case studies
But just to be sure, let’s take a look at these statistics and case studies for peace of mind.
Bird & Bird
In consultation with Aon UK, Bird & Bird, an international law firm, created and branded an online portal to house its full range of benefits to its employees and partners. This collaboration resulted in streamlined, transparent portfolio management through a multi-channel ‘self-service’ application that catered for an evolving workforce.
The statistics proved favourable by increasing the number of active employees by 20% in 2018, one year since its launch in 2017. During this time, 70% of employees engaged with the online portal. The app demonstrated its worth and continues to be a useful tool for employees.
Fox Agency is a B2B (business to business) marketing firm that, according to EmployeeBenefits.co.uk, struggled to replicate its in-house benefits package through remote working after the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Having relied heavily on a face-to-face model that offered wellbeing rewards, such as “visiting masseurs, mindfulness coaches and personal finance experts”, the lockdown-enforced ‘work from home’ strategy made ‘virtual reality wellbeing’ a real thing, a true contender.
New benefits and rewards had to be heavily deliverable online. Director Al Fox pivoted his offerings to online meditation, yoga, a photography tutorial and other personal training. On Fridays, the team finish work early and participate in online social events.
Becca Armstrong reports for Achievers, “we’re in the midst of a global employee engagement crisis, with just 13% of employees worldwide engaged with their jobs.” She offers the top four benefits for the employer to attack the real culprit – disengagement – head-on to achieve success with “formalized” employee engagement. These benefits are:
- Cost-savings – £340 billion per year in productivity and 30% performance rise equalling a 202% outperformance of companies with decreased engagement
- Lower turnover – 87% less likely to leave
- More productive employees – 20-25% productivity increase
- Happier customers – 233% boost in customer loyalty.
Incentive&Motivation agree that a company’s profitability does not have to result from the employer assuming a heartless taskmaster cracking the whip and from a hard, uphill slog for the employee. Those bygone days are done, and there is no good reason to resurrect such archaic practices in the future.
So, instead, we advocate building the workplace where you want to work and reap your rewards and benefits with a great ROI.