Do you have an attractive benefits package in place for the contemporary 21st century worker?
Now, more so than ever, companies are seeking highly skilled, committed and driven workers to drive the sustainability and profitability of their organisation. Employees are human capital in high demand, and as such are assets to organisations. There has been a cultural shift away from the ‘just a number’ mentality – there is no longer a belief that employees are expendable, infinite resources that are easily replaced.
Valuable employees are the distinguishing characteristic that enables businesses to flourish, meaning employers are putting greater emphasis on seeking innovative, appealing means of attracting and retaining staff. It has been widely evidenced through academic literature and various studies the explicit link between employee satisfaction within their role – including their perception of job quality, in addition to overall perceptions of their employer and organisational culture – and levels of turnover. As such, long-term HR strategy ought to embed effective means of increasing employee satisfaction in order to attract and retain a talented workforce.
Employee benefits are a proven, efficient means of increasing employee satisfaction in the workplace. Despite, from the outset, the appearance of costs to the employer in implementing a rewarding and holistically desirable benefits package, employers will ultimately reap a return on their investment by becoming an Employer of Choice – a commendable reputation to hold, particularly in the current economy’s ‘war for talent’.
So what kind of benefits should organisations be implementing, do you ask? In order to answer this question effectively, the current climate of the market must be understood so that changes implemented by HR professionals are relevant and valued by the contemporary worker.
In order words, realising the effect of the saturation of the market by Millennials.
Millennials are the dominant generation in today’s workforce who are increasingly, and overwhelming, permeating the workplace – it is expected that by 2030, approximately 75% of the workforce will be Millennials (Kloss, 2018). Millennial’s have their own expectations that differ to generations that have come before, with trends highlighting an increasing desire for perks that extend beyond a nice wage at the end of the month. This has forced employers to change their traditional approach to employee benefits and encompass innovation and individuality – characteristics that define the Millennial worker – in their strategies.
Prominent perks that Millennials desire include: benefits that assist in achieving greater work-life balance, benefits that provide mental health support, opportunities for development to drive personal and professional success, as well as enhanced family-friendly work policies. There has been a noticeable shift in employee’s priorities; where once salary, bonus and financial incentives were the most significant characteristics of employment, employees now actively seek more intangible benefits that offer flexibility and enhance wellbeing.
According to Glassdoor’s Employment Confidence Survey (2015), approximately 80% of employees would prefer new or additional benefits over a pay rise, the age breakdown being as follows: 89% of 18-34 year olds, 84% of 35-44 year olds, 70% of 45-54 year olds, and 66% of 55-64 year olds. This shows that whilst Millennials do place greater value on benefits as opposed to a pay rise, it also evidences that previous generations are adopting and emulating these Millennial trends. Consequently, it should seem logical that organisations recognise the cumulative importance placed on employee benefits, and the retention power these hold over the workforce of the past, present and future. The priorities of the new generation of workers are changing, meaning employers ought to be mindful of the evolution of workers in their bid to be perceived as attractive in the market.
An efficient means of meeting the needs of the majority of workers has manifested itself in the modern concept of ‘flexible benefits.’ Millennials are uninterested in rigid, invariable benefits packages – they seek customisable, personalised benefits that will meet their unique needs. For this reason, there has been a surge in flexible benefits packages, where employees can choose a select amount of benefits to form their own individual bundle. Flexible benefits packages demonstrate a move away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and are evidence of organisation’s understanding and willingness to support the individual needs and circumstances of a diverse workforce.
Given that employees are realising they have greater autonomy in choosing their employer, it would be strategic that organisations ensure they have a benefits package in place that is customisable and innovative to attract the contemporary 21st century worker. In a highly competitive industry, transparency and an adaptable approach to employee benefits will provide organisations with an edge in the war for talent. Investing in benefits that employees actually want displays a committed approach to attracting and retaining talent, and to encouraging and propelling growth. Organisational adaptation to Millennial expectations shows a forward-thinking attitude and a dedication to investing in the drivers of organisational success – the employees.