The changing nature of reward

Evolving employee preferences in a changing world?
When a potential employee is considering whether or not to accept a job, the benefits that are on offer play an important part in their decision.

As reward managers know very well, workers consider benefits part of their overall remuneration package. So, company rewards have a big part to play in recruitment and retention.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed individuals’ own priorities, and what they expect from their employer. Here we will explore the changing nature of benefits and how employers can swiftly move with the times to
ensure their staff feel supported and nurtured.

How employee preferences are changing

Every employee is different. Certain benefits are more likely to be relevant in some industries than others. However, it is possible to detect four trends that are reshaping what people are looking for across the workforce.

1. Seeking support over social activities

The benefits that staff are looking for from an employer have changed in recent years. While previously, such rewards as free cinema tickets and passes to other social events may have been welcome, employees are now much more likely to be drawn to companies that offer holistic support for their overall wellbeing.

Although this is not all down to COVID-19, the pandemic has certainly been a catalyst for many employers and staff to reflect upon, and rethink, the way we live and work today. This new perspective has helped create a revised picture of what employees would like and expect from the companies they work for, or apply for jobs with.

2. Financial education and advice

The last few years have left many employees feeling as though their working life is increasingly precarious, and as such, the need to be financially prepared has come to the forefront. This is having an impact on benefits packages, as staff welcomes financial education and advice.

It can give them the peace of mind of knowing that they have contingency plans in place, in what is becoming an ever-more unpredictable world, both inside and outside the workplace.

3. Care for overall wellbeing

As employers know full well, feelings of uncertainty and insecurity have taken their toll on the mental health of workers. It is therefore completely understandable that people are drawn to companies that show empathy towards their staff and view employee welfare holistically. The provision of support for mental health in benefits packages has increased accordingly.

Willis Towers Watson’s 2020 COVID-19 Great Britain and Western Europe Survey found that 86% of employers have put in measures to make sure people feel supported. This includes the offer of resources such as mindfulness and meditation apps, and improved sick pay and leave policies.

4. A hybrid approach to working

Employees believe that working in a hybrid fashion makes it possible to achieve the optimum work-life balance. The pandemic opened many people’s eyes to working from home, and a substantial proportion have expressed a reluctance around returning to purely office-based working. Employers are showing their support for hybrid forms of working by offering wellness packages that can include, for example, online gym classes to avoid the need to travel anywhere to get regular exercise.

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