Employee benefits needs are constantly changing and for employers trying to motivate and engage today’s workforce, employee reward is increasingly about much more than just salary. These changes go hand in hand with a rapidly evolving employee demographic. From millenials pushing forward a change in attitudes towards flexible working and work life balance, to gig economy workers bridging the gap between employment and self-employment, HR professionals must tailor their reward strategies to an increasingly diverse set of priorities and motivations. Asking the right questions from your employee benefits provider is therefore crucial in ensuring that you are using the right tools to foster employee engagement amongst all of your staff. Here are some key points you should be raising:
1. How does this reward programme support our broader HR strategy?
The concept of reward has developed over the past decade to incorporate much more than just salary and this is an important consideration when thinking about how reward fits in to your broader HR/employee engagement strategy. For most employers today, reward, alongside employee recognition, is the activity they engage in to acknowledge exceptional performance and encourage specific values or behaviours. Your employee benefits provider should be able give you a very clear idea about how this can be achieved. For example, this may involve aligning employee recognition rewards with with the objectives and needs of the business (being very clear about which staff behaviours and performances are being rewarded; how and why) or ensuring that rewards are reflective of an organisation’s values. Recognition awards can focus on things such as effort, enthusiasm or softer, value-based attributes. Indeed, it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that the reward choices that you make will carry certain messages about your organisation, which is why reward can have such a big impact on workplace culture and your broader HR strategy. For example, if ‘creative thinking’ or values such as ‘integrity’ are important to your organisation, rewarding employees for exhibiting those behaviours can encourage those behaviours. Likewise rewarding long service or performance will send different messages.
2. How will the scheme be implemented?
Reward schemes can be implemented in a range of different ways: from manual, paper-based systems to fully automated online reward and recognition portals that can be accessed remotely. Each benefits provider will have different systems they use in place but we believe that the best schemes make it quick and easy to nominate colleagues, publicly celebrate staff achievements and redeem rewards. In our experience, those schemes tend to be fully automated, online portals. Particularly for large organisations that may have remote workers or employees based across lots of different locations, this is the best way of encouraging engagement. In addition to automating the approval process for granting rewards, portals avoid the need for any paper filing, thus introducing operational efficiencies and allowing employers to capture insightful data about how a programme is operating.
3. Does it cater to a diverse workforce?
When developing a reward programme that caters to your whole workforce, it’s important to consider to specific needs and aspirations of different demographics and there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that these can be extremely diverse. For example, when looking at millenials, you might consider the fact that, according to the Intelligence Group, 64% would rather make $40,000 a year from a job they love rather than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring. At the same time, according to EdAssist, 58% of millenials expect employers to provide them with learning and development opportunities relevant to their job.
In practical terms, these considerations should feed into how you plan to reward different groups of employees (for example, for millennial workers, things such as flexible working and learning and development opportunities can be effective non-monetary rewards), as well as the types of behaviours that you choose to reward employees for (long service rewards may no longer be applicable).
For more information on how employee benefits and reward and recognition can support your reward strategy, contact us.