Culture change is happening all around us. For organisations, the past two years have provided the catalyst for reinvention; whilst for employees, many are now finding themselves shifting from a space of persistent uncertainty, to being increasingly empowered with more choice, more autonomy and more accountability as employers wake-up to the need to place their people and purpose at the heart of their business.
On one hand, this is excellent news, as more organisations seek to cultivate a culture that is built on a meaningful purpose and the collective individualities that make it up; but on the other, the need to step up support for employees in the face of such constant change and newfound responsibility will be key to organisational resilience and something employers should ignore at their peril.
Your reward and benefits strategy can’t build a resilient culture on its own, but it can play a critical role in supporting your employees and authentically demonstrating your value as an employer in this new world of work; from mental wellbeing to financial education; inclusivity to sustainability; leadership to learning.
We’ve outlined 5 key considerations to think about as you look to shape your reward and benefits strategy for the future.
- Start by looking in the mirror
It might be tempting to jump on the latest trend or gimmick, but an honest self-reflection and review of your existing reward and benefits strategy is a great place to start. Sure, we’d encourage you to push boundaries (see 4 below), but some studies suggest that the benefits employees want most are still pretty traditional – think financial benefits, work-life balance and working flexibility. This means a lot may already be in your immediate control. Are you making the most of what you already offer? Are your people rewarded fairly? Are you maximising your current spend on benefits? Does your approach to reward and benefits genuinely represent your culture?
2. Make it as people-centred as your culture
It may sound obvious, but never has it been more important to design your reward and benefits strategy around your people. Involve them – ask them what matters, what they value and what they need to feel supported in this new world of work. And provide the flexibility for them to choose what’s important. From financial support in setting up a home office, to support with starting a family, LGBTQ+ inclusive policies, or benefits rich in social and corporate responsibility – a truly inclusive benefits strategy will demonstrate your commitment to individuality, whilst nurturing a safe and supportive environment.
3. Don’t forget your leaders
Whilst it may be easy to assume that leaders are ok, don’t overlook them when it comes to your reward and benefits strategy. Not only is their role in advocating and implementing your strategy going to be vital to its success, but providing the right support for leaders themselves is critical to building a resilient organisational culture. The expectations placed on our leaders has changed beyond recognition and your reward and benefits strategy needs to account for the new challenges they face. Executive remuneration, share plans and incentive schemes are no longer going to cut it on their own – our leaders are human too and will need more support than ever if they are going to succeed in delivering the ‘perform and transform’ agenda which is now in front of them. Consider how you can enable your leaders and managers with the right support to both champion your strategy and ensure that they feel rewarded, safe and supported too.
4. Push boundaries
As our organisations continue to reinvent themselves, your reward and benefits strategy needs to keep pace. Office-based perks and more traditional financial support such as season ticket loans and group insurance discounts may no longer hold much value; yet virtual wellbeing programs, fluid holiday allowances and concierge services may be more relevant in today’s world. Take the stigma out of mental health: lead from the front by providing a range of support networks, tools and services – and provide the space for employees to engage, wherever they happen to now work. Be progressive when it comes to diversity and inclusion: consciously embrace individuality in your benefits design and hold your providers to account to ensure their services and policies are suitable for all. And don’t stand still, because change is here to stay.
5. Make it easy
It may be an age old problem, but awareness, education, engagement and accessibility of reward and benefits is still all too common. As digital evolution happens around us, the way we expect employees to engage and interact with their benefits is old fashioned and difficult. But the role of reward and benefits communication and technology should go far beyond the transactional: helping to define an authentic employer brand and leading employee experience; enabling your leaders to support, develop and recognise your people; and tangibly demonstrating your commitment to your people and purpose. It’s your culture in action and it’ll be more resilient for it.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to enhancing organisational culture, but by implementing the five considerations listed above in a way which fits your organisation, you’re investing in a happier and healthier workforce.