Why Employee Benefits Programmes Must be Agile in Change

Sally Hetherington   28 September, 2021
employee benefits

As you grow as a business you may realise that in order to attract and retain good talent, you may need to reconsider and adjust your employee benefits. You may think about adding family responsibility benefits or long-term investment options, however, this might not attract up-and-coming talent. They might prefer a gym membership or access to mindfulness classes. Millennials might be attracted to longer maternity benefits or the option of flexible hours. 

You need to be agile in your employee benefits programme to keep up with the needs of your business to make sure that you have the right people for the job.

A Living Solution

As part of your corporate strategy, your employee benefits and recognition programmes need to be flexible, adaptable and scalable. Consider your changing circumstances and adapt accordingly.

There are many different reasons why an organisation will introduce an employee benefits and employee rewards recognition programme. For example, they may want to offer access to strengthen the core value or to address issues of retention, or perhaps to strengthen team collaboration.

As strategic objectives change - possibly even because the recognition program has contributed to solving or partly addressing some of those issues - then with this change in strategy there ought to be a change in focus of your recognition program too. 

Try to see recognition as a living solution that changes over time. You may be adding different types of award schemes and processes along the way, to reflect changes in the organisation. 

Many organisations will start their journey of recognition with a very low threshold in terms of how much recognition is embedded in the culture of the organisation. They don’t want to start off with anything too hard hitting or complex. However things change as the recognition scheme addresses some of the initial key strategic objectives, so it makes sense then to change the recognition programme in the process.

For example, you might start with a straight forward, non financial, social peer-to-peer reward. No approval or budget is required for this and there are no complex processes that need to be agreed upon. This is particularly useful if you have a global recognition programme that requires management decisions and process flows to be consistent across all countries as you won’t need to follow approval or budget processes for something simple and non-financial. Only over time might you decide to introduce some financial rewards, for example for long service. 

Usage Analysis

At some point you will also need to start looking at your employee benefits and employee rewards platform, looking at the statistics and trends analysis to understand the usage and the extent to which people are enjoying and using the platform. 

Analysis and regular surveys will show if your employees understand the rewards on offer, as there is no point offering any employee benefits if your employees don’t actually know what they mean and how to get full use out of them.

Once you understand your data and have completed your surveys you should consider introducing a range of other schemes that weren't even part of your initial recognition strategy, like wellbeing rewards or referral rewards for when someone recommends someone for a job. You might then want to bring the process and the auditing of this all into one platform. 

Over time you will have a single portal that anyone can use to give something to someone - an organisational process that becomes the home for giving or receiving, and over time HR will have singular administrative over this.

Changing Circumstances

Another reason why you might be phasing things in or out over time as part of your strategic objective is the consideration of where your recognition journey might take you. This opens the opportunity for using a recognition programme in a scalable way, evolving it in order to meet changing circumstances.

We know that recognition is very important, and research shows that people who receive recognition feel more engaged in the work they do, feel proud of the work they do and generally are happier and feel more appreciated. A recent Colt survey showed that colleagues who have been recognised in the last few months are two times more likely to say that they are highly engaged, whilst 86% of these people said that being recognised makes them feel prouder of their work. 

Alongside the requirement to encourage and drive recognition, there is also a need to develop your recognition strategy and how you recognise your people. How you do this depends on your business circumstances and the requirements from your employees.

Change is the only constant and we are faced with change on a daily basis. Often this change is positive as it is due to evolving strategies and improving efficiencies and collaboration, so in these circumstances it must be embraced, and we want our engagement strategies to reflect these changes, and obviously, recognition is at the heart of employee engagement. 

Understand that recognition is a flexible and evolving concept and adapt and refresh your engagement strategies accordingly as your company changes. Allow the flexibility to adapt your rewards to allow reward recipients to take ownership of their rewards - something that speaks to them. 

For example, recent considerations could include safe workplace allowances, special assistance funds to mitigate financial hardship or loss, employee assistance programmes, training on managing virtual teams and giving feedback remotely, and work from home support. It is important to develop ad hoc rewards based on circumstances.

Change in the workplace


Different cultures and countries will look at recognition differently so you need to accurately reflect this through a bespoke process. Whilst consistency is important, it is also important to recognise differences and be accordingly flexible.  

Discuss with your service provider when implementing and scoping out your solution how flexible your package needs to be to allow each department within different countries to make changes themselves, in order to be adaptable to cultural considerations. The ideal would be to have a good balance of self-serve tools to allow management of some things within the local branch.

Building a thank you culture that supports and recognises colleagues for demonstrating the visions, values and behaviours that drive the company is integral to building and maintaining employee happiness. It is therefore important to embed recognition as part of their culture and reflecting their values and behaviours, whilst still being agile to keep up with change to continue to grow these values.

Staff Treats recognises the need to reward and recognise your employees in an agile way. Book a demo with us to find out more about our employee benefits platform that’s tailored to grow with your business.

Sally Hetherington

Full time teen wrangler, part time writer, passionate traveller and wannabe chef.

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