HR & Management

Setting the standard: Aligning company benefits to the modern workforce

6 min read

11 April 2019

Modern businesses are increasingly challenged to keep pace with the growing expectations of their workforce. However, with the talent pool becoming more diverse, tailoring offerings to meet their needs is a challenge. Let's begin the discussion by thinking about a strategy on how to attract, manage and maintain the brightest talent in a competitive employment market, without breaking the bank.

The modern workforce is more diverse than ever, benefitting from the expertise of employees from all walks of life. In short, workplace change is here, and it’s not just your workforce that’s evolving, it’s also the way they’re working. The rise of remote working solutions and complete connectivity among devices and networks means the traditional 9-5 culture is becoming increasingly outdated.

Flexibility is power

Employers are encouraged to offer flexible and remote working opportunities to accommodate the needs of their workforce. Flexibility can also help you get ahead of the competition in attracting and retaining key employees.

Make technology work for you

It sometimes feels like employers and managers are stuck in a battle to keep employees motivated while managing teams with different preferences. However, it’s often the same innovations sparking these problems that provide the fluidity to help overcome them.

Technology facilitates the ability for employees to work remotely, but it also makes communication easier and assists with the automation of tasks like KPI tracking, making productivity measurement simpler.

Build the culture you want

Flexible working and connectivity can spark an ‘always on’ culture, leading to feelings of stress and anxiety among employees. It’s important to convey to employees they’re allowed to switch-off outside working hours. It’ll benefit your business too, avoiding the risk of employee burnout and yielding refreshed, productive staff when they are working.

Responding to trends

A flexible offering Benefit packages shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Employees at different life stages and with different priorities are unlikely to value the same perks. For example, a middle-aged manager may value life insurance to secure their family’s future.

A younger, less senior employee may not wish to invest in the same policy at the start of their career, instead preferring the more tangible gains of retail discount vouchers.

Voluntary (employee-paid) benefit packages

Voluntary benefit packages allow employees to pick the perks they want to invest in, offered on either a standalone basis or integrated with any existing core (employer-paid) benefits an employer may already offer. Payments are usually taken straight from employee wages for convenience and often at no direct cost to the employer.

Company benefits have proven a significant pull in the race for attracting talent of all ages. Indeed millennials – who’ll form 50% of the global workforce by 2020 – now rank compensation and benefits as the number one reason for accepting a new job. Voluntary benefits help businesses avoid alienating employees with compulsory buy-ins and don’t force investment on any employees. Rather, they provide the opportunity to choose.

Working towards wellness

One of the key driving forces behind a productive workplace is happy and healthy employees. Those with access to wellbeing benefits are encouraged by signs their employer is working towards a culture that celebrates and encourages positive wellbeing.

For example, providing access to onsite health screenings open to employees during work hours may encourage those with hectic personal schedules to better prioritise their own self-care and wellbeing. As with insurance and cover schemes, employees of different backgrounds value different benefits.

For those looking to accommodate the needs of a diverse workforce, it’s all about options. Older employees, who can be more susceptible to certain illnesses, may welcome opportunities for complimentary health screenings to spot specific symptoms.

Younger employees may prefer speaking to a wellness expert about potential lifestyle changes or accessing a health cashplan to ensure they’re not out of pocket for everyday treatments like dental check-ups and physiotherapy appointments.

Making the most of the opportunities

Tailored benefits offerings could see your business in pole position to attract and retain the strongest candidates, so make sure they know about all the opportunities they can take advantage of. Consider which communication channels your staff prefer; not all employees like to receive information in the same way.

Different forms of communication

Some may prefer an email, while others benefit from face-to-face meetings with company representatives, to talk through their opportunities. Technology can facilitate an efficient way of communicating, allowing staff to read through important information at their own pace and save correspondence to revisit when they choose. However, texts or emails shouldn’t be your only method of communication.

Use technology to supplement other forms of communication – like a meeting, letter or staff notice – to reach more of your employees. Make sure to remind employees about their benefits and perks throughout the year. This can be beneficial for both core and voluntary benefits offerings.

As well as reminding your employees you care, regular communication can serve as a useful reminder that, if you have voluntary benefits, employees who have recently had a lifestyle change – like having a baby – can change the level of cover to better fit their new life stage.