In the days before the pandemic turned our world upside down, most companies had a basic understanding of employee benefits and generally took them for granted, offering the standard health, insurance and retirement, and if you were lucky they threw in extra perks, like a gym membership, childcare facilities or a canteen. These were all perfectly acceptable, however in the post-Covid world there has been a shift in employee expectation.
Benefits are now seen not only as nice-to-have perks, but rather as prerequisites to include as a way to engage and retain employees, becoming an integral part of the company culture. Expectations of employee benefits have also shifted, with a focus more now on mental health, work-from-home benefits and emergency leave.
If you are still unconvinced as to why you need to be focusing more on your employee benefits in a post-Covid world, here are some reasons:
The Covid pandemic created a lot of stress and uncertainty. Employee expectations have changed and medical and dental benefits are no longer enough. Employees are re-examining their employee benefits, looking for a much wider range, including benefits such as emergency leave for quarantining, access to wellness, meditation and sleep apps to combat stress and anxiety, as well as financial wellness programmes to help alleviate the concern of retrenchment or even death.
Having spent many months working remotely, employees also anticipate the option of a hybrid home-office work situation, with benefits including digital health and wellness offerings, with virtual consultations, online gym memberships and interactive health and wellness educational sessions to assist with managing and preventing chronic disease which may contribute to Covid mortalities.
As more companies move into offering new employee benefits for this post-Covid world, the competition to attract and retain top talent will only increase, and if you want to hire the best employees, you need to offer the best benefits.
Most businesses are offering competitive benefits, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to be making the offerings even more attractive, otherwise, you will lose the best employees to those that do. Competitive benefits will show potential candidates that you have what it takes to offer a great employee experience, which will naturally attract great employees.
The many lockdowns during the pandemic have created much anxiety around job security. Offering a range of employee benefits will show your employees that you are prepared to invest in them. Adding benefits that improve the employee experience and show that you are able to make adjustments to your benefits where necessary will help your employees feel safe, and therefore give them the space to do what they do best.
Consider including in your benefits mental health offerings, financial planning and work-from-home benefits, showing that despite unpredictable times, you are prepared to go above and beyond to ensure that your employees are able to continue doing their jobs.
In a post-Covid world it is integral to retain your top employees, and with so much upheaval in the world, you need to show them that they are worth every penny that you spend on them. A good benefits package will prevent your best employees from looking out for new opportunities and turning to better offers.
The recruitment process, including advertising, hiring and training, costs time and money. Investing in a good employee benefit package may cost in the short term, but the long term benefits of stable employee retention and a low employee turnover will end up saving you money in the long run.
Having loyal employees also means not having to pick up the sometimes expensive pieces when someone leaves, as well as having a hands-on, knowledgeable team that just gets on with the job. You therefore need to have a benefits package that makes people want to stay.
The pandemic has changed what your employees value, and having worked much of the time remotely for the last 18 months, many people are seeing the benefit of a hybrid system, with the agility of choosing whether to go into the office or not. The pandemic also forced everyone to quickly put measures in place to facilitate working remotely, however in a post-Covid world it might be time for a revamp.
Employees who have the option of a hybrid system will feel valued if their benefits include assistance with the work-from-home setup, for example internet connectivity, laptops and phones suitable for moving around, and device insurance and security. Of course throwing in the odd treat like a coffee voucher or the occasional meal kit would also go a long way to improvise the work-from-home employee experience.
Offering benefits to facilitate a hybrid system would in turn lead to greater productivity, as less time would be wasted trying to get things working and having a set home work-space would also help your employees to move from home life to work life and back again, removing distractions, lowering stress, increasing happiness and in turn further increasing productivity.
Pre-Covid most companies offered health insurance, and if you were lucky, a gym membership. However the pandemic has not only reminded people that a healthy body is better equipped to fight off the virus, but the stress, anxiety and uncertainty of living through a pandemic has brought mental health to the fore, and now it is integral to be offering a range of options to keep your staff both mentally and physically fit.
It is a well known fact that people with lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases are more at risk should they contract Covid so it is integral that you pay attention to this and offer your employees every opportunity to improve their health. Your remote staff will also benefit from virtual health benefits such as online meditation and mindfulness, online fitness classes and virtual consultations for both physical and mental health. This will both boost the health of your employees as well as engagement.
With so much uncertainty and anxiety over the future, it is only to be expected that morale has taken a serious knock in the last 18 months. Having a range of good benefits will show your employees that you care about their needs, and want to reward and recognise their efforts. R&R is known to improve employee morale, thereby improving employee experience, happiness, and loyalty.
Loyal, happy employees are not only more productive, but are good advertisements for your business, meaning that not only will you lower staff turnover, but you may in fact attract new talent.
Right now it is integral to be thinking out of the box when it comes to employee benefits. You, your business and your employees have possibly gone through the biggest upheaval in current memory and as such having a range of benefits will solidify your employees’ sense of loyalty, help them feel valued and improve productivity and employee experience overall.