So now is a good time to check that the benefits you offer are really delivering for you and your employees.
Reward and recognition should be at the heart of any retention strategy.
As we said in our previous article in this series, introducing changes as your employees make for the exit is leaving things far, far too late.
Instead, you need to be constantly reviewing the benefits you provide and asking if they are still relevant and working as well as they should for your organisation and your people.
This is vitally important, not least in these times of high inflation and rising living costs.
What was an exciting and innovative reward last year may no longer have the edge in a time of squeezed budgets, or may no longer reflect the moments that matter for your people.
So where should you start in reviewing and refreshing your benefits package? Here are five suggestions to help you keep what you offer relevant and engaging – and in turn keep your employees engaged and happy.
Five ideas for boosting your benefits
- What do they really need?
It may seem an obvious starting point, but have you asked your employees what they want?
After all, with a far wider range of generations working or returning to work, we cannot assume to think that we know what people want, or that they all want the same things. So we need to start by finding out just what they do – and don’t - want.
What parts of your benefit package are still valued? Use the tools you have in your internal communications such as surveys, focus groups and internal communications channels to sound people out.
Use a simple online poll or survey to ask them directly what they most value. You never know, you might get some really innovative ideas – but you need to ask first.
- Think outside the box
Be as creative as you can. You are very likely to have a wide range of employees with different life-stages and, therefore, very different views on what makes a reward important.
For example, community giving can be a very motivating factor for many people.
Can you find ways to link your benefits to local businesses and help employees at the same time?
So a deal on servicing and MOTs which gives employees a benefit and helps a garage just around the corner from your business? Localised childcare vouchers?
Links with restaurants on your high street, that small independent cinema, or other locally based businesses.
You’re putting something back into your area – supporting more local and sustainable rewards which enrich everyone, while creating moments that matter for your employees.
- Training and other opportunities
You may well be spending quite a lot to recruit new staff either for existing projects or even new ones.
Is it possible to assess that spend and then redirect that budget to projects that encourage existing staff to consider learning new skills or taking on new roles?
There are tools which allow employees to explore new career options and where they might go next within your business.
People First’s talent profile, for example, uses MHR’s Match and Gap technology to identify where employees match roles across your organisation, helping to support development and training initiatives.
There is no better way to reward and encourage staff than by showing them that they have a longer term future with you – and that you have the facilities to allow this to happen.
It's not quite the same as a benefit in kind, but when it comes to retaining and encouraging talent it’s definitely worth shouting about.
- Shout about what’s on offer
When’s the last time you really promoted the full range of benefits available? Do your employees even know what is on offer?
You need to shout about what your benefits are, and make sure employees are aware of what's out there for them.
Even if there are some benefits which are not directly relevant to them, seeing the full range will make them aware of the entire benefits package available to everyone.
A single email isn't enough - you need a dedicated communications strategy for this area.
It also needs to be seen in the places where employees are most likely to access it, such as an intranet or HR platform such as People First, where they’ll hopefully talk about it and share their thoughts.
That gives you further useful feedback to enable you to refine the package.
- Assess, evaluate, improve
As we’ve already said, today's motivating 'benefit' may not be appropriate tomorrow.
So harness technology to allow you to make sure your benefits meet real needs - and change them when they don't - or be prepared to be more flexible if that's what's required.
As with your retention strategy, you cannot afford to think for a minute that it’s job done and rest on your laurels! Listen and be prepared to act on the feedback you are given.
Above all, where you can, use technology to measure and assess, set targets and continue to improve the benefits package you provide.
Even if in the coming months we see inflation start to dip and things like food costs start to level out, the range and relevance of your rewards and benefits will continue to be important; not only in retaining talented employees, but in attracting new people who want to come and work with an organisation which is both innovative and caring, and which listens and responds to each and every one of its workforce.
So if you’ve not reviewed your benefits for a while, or you simply want to find some fresh ideas to support or transform your EVP and employee experience, there’s no better time to start than right now.
Rebecca Carter, product owner, talent and engagement, MHR
To find out more about how MHR can help you to ramp up your reward strategies, such as helping your employees develop their own dedicated career paths, contact us.