How to address the Great Resignation through employee benefits
Coming out of the pandemic, data on the Great Resignation around employee discontent and ultimately turnover is very mixed. Some organisations looked after their employees during Covid, kept them connected, allowed them to work remotely and showed concern for their wellbeing.
As a result, these organisations were more likely to retain them, while employers who did the opposite were more likely to see people leave. There was also a big cross section of workers for whom the pandemic gave them time to reflect and, no matter how well their employer did during Covid, they had already made up their mind to move on and do something different.
You’ll never mitigate all these circumstances, but to have a chance a company needs to nail its employee value proposition, from simple reward and recognition through to working culture and environment, employee development and wellbeing. Spanning all of the above is a company’s ‘benefits package’ which is coming to mean a whole raft of different things to people post pandemic.
Education education education
While far fewer employees these days adopt a cradle-to-grave attitude to benefits, companies can still do more to celebrate what might be termed a ‘traditional’ benefits offering. For example, if the pension scheme is generous, do more as an employer to educate those who might be ignoring it. That may include younger employees, or women who have taken time out to have children.
The same goes for health care. Many people have been impacted by Covid and / or long Covid, leading to raised awareness and recognition by employers about the importance of providing health and medical cover. Education is key and the more you can explain to your employees about how these benefits work and how much value they bring, the more employees will appreciate them, and by extension your company. This education piece may hold especially true for younger employees.
If you are set up to do that, you should also be able to help your workers with financial planning as an additional ‘benefit’. Sadly, many people got into real problems with debt during the pandemic. Leaving them to face those problems alone will almost certainly affect their mental health, physical health and ultimately their presence and performance at work. Helping them through it can help boost happiness and confidence, impact their performance positively and create a lasting connection and sense of loyalty with the company, their line managers and peers.
Rethink existing benefits
There are also creative ways to spruce up the more traditional benefits. HR Tech, for example, can help by enabling employees to transfer previous pensions into a new policy, or simply engage more fully with their pensions in a more tangible way through an app.
Thinking a little more outside of the box, there is a whole list of enticements that companies are now looking at, for example in travel. If company cars and annual rail season tickets are no longer deemed relevant, why not divert allowances and loans into other things like cycle to work, environmental or wellbeing schemes? Or help employees take the plunge and go electric.
Embracing the idea of wanderlust post-pandemic, some companies offer the chance to work from anywhere in the world to attract talent. Overseas sabbaticals have traditionally been rewards for long service but are now being seen in more flexible terms, offering a cash bonus or extending the concept to volunteering.
The idea of wellbeing has now stretched far beyond the traditional one-off gym membership into a culture-driven a la carte menu of offerings, from yoga and massage in the office to discounts for healthy food, digital rewards for walking or cycling to work, and access to events and tickets. Creativity in this area often starts with listening to what employees like doing.
The gift of time
Then there is the gift of time. Annual leave is one area where a flexible approach can pay real dividends at minimal cost, with employees able to buy or sell back holiday rather than stick to a set-in-stone 25 days a year, or – an even bolder approach – some companies are offering employees the chance to pick their own annual leave entitlement, switching accountability from employer to employee.
Tackling the parenthood penalty through time management, companies are now increasingly looking at it from both sides. Whereas previously many employers would not have accommodated flexible working for parents, particularly women, needing to juggle the school run, now they are looking at time in a more people-friendly way. Paternity leave is also undergoing a revolution, giving fathers up to several months off to share the childcare and, in doing so, enabling mothers to get back to work and progress careers that might otherwise have stalled.
Never forget too that the simplest things can mean the most if they come from the heart. An organisation in the care sector that I’ve been working with recently told me they thought long and hard about how their carers might feel when one of their clients passed away. In the end, they decided to gift them a £10 voucher and the time it takes to buy themselves a coffee and a piece of cake. It’s not forced or grand, but it does show a level of thought, and that is incredibly important.