Aligning Employee Benefits with their Shifting Needs

The COVID pandemic has brought about both societal and economic shifts that have greatly changed how people approach employment. In a recent survey, 77% of workers consider work benefits as an essential part of their compensation and one of the huge reasons why they would stay for a job.

The COVID pandemic has brought about both societal and economic shifts that have greatly changed how people approach employment. In a recent survey, 77% of workers consider work benefits as an essential part of their compensation and one of the huge reasons why they would stay for a job.

Now more than ever, wellbeing-centric benefits are at the core of many employees’ priorities, both for current employees and those actively seeking employment.

In recent research, it was revealed that 73% of employers in the UK are working on enhancing their employee benefits, citing employee wellbeing as a critical element for employee re-engagement post-pandemic. Another report produced in the US echoed those same results, adding that financial stability, as well as insurance, are the two other priorities.

For business owners and managers, this means making strides in aligning your existing benefits with the ongoing shift of employee needs in a post-COVID world. With the limited availability of talent coupled with the costs of recruitment and retention, the time for ensuring your benefits meet your workforce’s needs is more urgent than ever.

HR’s Role in Adjusting Work Benefits

Success at this requires both HR and hiring managers to take a multicultural and collaborative approach to making this happen.

Some countries are better equipped with the resources required to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, while others are not so fortunate, leading people to need more coverage in their insurance preferences and work benefits.

The economic ramifications of the pandemic have also made it quite difficult for some companies to offer satisfactory employee compensation and benefits. Thus, HR must closely work with the necessary stakeholders and insurance providers, to name a few, to come up with a feasible strategy to adjust work benefits.

And lastly, hiring managers must also be sensitive to the individual needs of both candidates and existing employees in tailoring their respective compensation and benefits. Regular honest and open communication must be maintained to ensure that you are hearing their concerns and that you’re providing them with the support they need.

Three Post-Pandemic Work-Benefit Adjustment Ideas to Consider

1. Wellbeing benefits

In the context of this post, wellbeing benefits cover two areas: insurance and health-related benefits.

Critical illness coverage, accident insurance, life insurance, and private medical insurance are some of the benefits you might want to consider prioritizing. Employees may also be given the ability to personalize their coverage to suit their individual needs.

For health-related benefits, one of the top prioritizations is providing free COVID-19 vaccination and other pertinent vaccines. Vaccination may also be extended to immediate family and household members.

Additionally, consider incorporating wellbeing programs, such as gym memberships, mental health days, and more accessible personal leave days. Additionally, companies may need to go the extra mile in supporting the mental health of employees. If financially feasible, consider providing free or discounted access to mental health facilities (therapists and the like), if not already included in the insurance coverage.

2. Financial wellbeing and stability

One thing that the pandemic has brought to the forefront is the importance of financial wellbeing and stability amidst a time of uncertainty. In this post, I will discuss salary and reward programs, as well as financial wellbeing programs as part of your benefits package.

In a recent survey, 33% of companies are planning to change their reward and benefits package as it relates to performance management. However, several studies have emphasized that the motivational effect of extrinsic rewards (e.g., salary) does very little in the long term, and that intrinsic rewards (e.g., a culture of recognition and inclusion) is more beneficial.

With that said, it is best for HR to establish and enforce a positive work culture and recalibrate their current leaders’ management style to support it. Great care should also be taken by hiring managers to work through their biases when it comes to matching salary packages with candidates’ qualifications.

For financial wellbeing, organizations might consider offering a more generous retirement plan, income protection included in health insurance, and student loan repayment programs, to name a few. It may also be a good idea to include personalized financial advice programs for employees.

3. Flexible work arrangements

Working from home (WFH) has now become the new norm, with 62% of organizations now allowing employees to regularly work from home and several larger companies either offering permanent WFH arrangements or maintaining more flexible work policies in the long-term.

For employers and HR, this means providing clear and fair guidelines to WFH policies, as well as providing employees with the right technology and resources for a smoother remote work arrangement. Unfortunately, only half of companies in a survey have made an effort to invest in technology to support remote employees, and this needs to change as we adapt to the new normal.

Other benefits you could include regarding this are expanded reimbursement policies and/or monthly or annual stipends for home internet service, laptops and printers, and other expenditures incurred for remote work.

Assessing Candidate Needs During the Hiring Process

As previously mentioned, a key part in adjusting work benefits is being sensitive to the individual needs of both prospective and current employees.

For hiring managers, great care must be taken during the interview process to properly assess candidate needs. This may become more of a challenge if you’re hiring virtually, but with proper preparation and good communication techniques, it can be effectively done.

If you need more guidance on how to assess candidates and feasibly adjust HR benefits, The QualiFind Group can be an invaluable resource for you. We have been in professional recruitment and HR consulting for more than two decades, and we’ve seen first-hand the value in being flexible and adaptable to societal and economic changes to further enhance the workplace.

We also do not take a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to recruitment. We tailor each of our solutions to the unique needs of each customer. Whether you’re in need of one-off direct hire recruitment, or have more complex Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO needs), we’re here to give you a hand.

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– Carlos Acosta