Blog ‘How can employee benefits be utilised to help attract and retain modern-day staff in our ever-competitive employment landscape?

By Esther

Here are some of the key messages from the DAM research….

“Society is forever undergoing change”

Competition for staff is becoming harder and adding to the cost of high turnover, disengagement and recruitment costs, as well as onboarding and all the other stuff plus disruption, causes real concern. It is critical that we get this right and er’s should empower staff and support them through all the pillars of their employment.

So what did they find out about this growing generation of our workforce? Gen Z makes up about 50% of the workplace now and this is expected to grow over next few years (hype statistics – they are always on their phone, selfish and only interested in themselves as a generation!!). Not true!

Watch Simon Sinek interview on ‘Millennials in the workplace’ great video clip that positions an interesting viewpoint on the supporting part employer’s have to play…..

Have you really considered what this generation wants in terms of benefits in the workplace DAM did qualitative, quantitative and focus groups research along with interviews, here are their findings;

Finding 1: Communication is key; generic emails for onboarding is described as impersonal they want more regular communication and not have to seek it out they want more regular comms and Apps for alerts is now expected as the norm. Millennials want the opportunity to choose how they are kept informed….face to face, however, remains extremely valuable and builds trust. Mobile comms and Apps allows er’s to regulate communication. New technology enables you as er’s to keep in touch and reach out to staff.

Finding 2: Knowledge is power: Just how aware are your employees of the benefits you offer? For many, they actually do not know. They expect transparency on your benefits package and want that clearer understanding of benefits at different levels clear tangible goals they can strive for at the different levels that benefits apply to. They appreciate the ‘touch of a button’ shopping basket approach to benefits. Does your provider invest in ethical funding as part of the pension provision? Many would like to know this as many do not know that their pension is a benefit, they see it as a normal part of their contract. Many would like to know what your organisation stands for (ethical piece) understanding what your ee’s want is key. Provide an annual benefits statement so people can see the long term value.

Finding 3: The significance of Staff Wellbeing; Younger employees said they would rather invest in property than a pension, but they want to be empowered to make better financial decisions. Yet this is also the generation that is most likely to feel financial stress, so can you support them in this way? Do employers have a responsibility for raising awareness and educating staff as part of financial wellbeing? This could help part of your mental wellbeing initiatives and encourage more open discussions.

Panel session

The guest panel was Chaired by the wonderful Katie Jacobs; on the panel of hospitality experts were; Emma Jayne Director of People and Culture @ Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, Jon Dawson Director of HR @ Mandarin Oriental, Linda Stitger Director of People & Culture @ Four Seasons, Ninoska Leppard Group Personnel & Development Director @ Corbin & King and Dawn Vermiere Director of HR @ Grosvenor House Suites. 

The shift in expectations: Often students and young applicants will first ask “So what can you offer me”?  Some er’s are also seeing a rise in the number of students applying for supervisory roles without experience in the role so how can you reasonably manage their demands and let them down gently without crushing them? Think about how you personalise and tailor your benefits to your audience that they can utilise for example; asking do you drive a car? If Yes, then tell them you can then get discounted car insurance! Ask, Do you do a weekly shop? If Yes, tell them you can get supermarket discount etc as part of the benefits of working for us. So, do you share all the benefits you offer on day one and in effect create information overload so they forget most of it, or could you spend more time later on with them telling them the most important things such as pensions?

Financial wellbeing: some are already offering this and the impact has been really positive. Not taught at school even though it is a massive part of life. Mortgage workshops have been popular for some. So, what about getting your own accounts team to help your ee’s with financial planning? Should this be the er’s responsibility to educate staff?

Mental wellbeing: This is more about BAU rather than a benefit and it is important to understand the language of the millennial generation, so saying ‘pull yourself together’ no longer works. Could more HR professionals be mental health first aid trained a valuable life skill to have and should this almost be mandatory for our role?  What about the impact of social media and self-worth and how people feel about themselves. Can we encourage people to follow accounts that inspire them rather than get fixated on how many likes they get? Shift patterns play a part so consider enabling more and more departments to move to flexible shift patterns and educate line managers that flexible working can work and how easy it can be to plan the rotas more. HR professionals have a massive role to play in work-life blend and balance and educating department heads in closing the gap between what senior leaders expect and to be more open to flexible working, as millennials do expect a better balance.  

So what next? Some really thoughtful and interesting points raised by the panel for HR teams to consider. So now it is up to you to decide on what is relevant and what you need to do next. Get the senior leaders on board with the HR agenda and get them also to champion work-life balance and financial wellbeing. Use stats and data to support your agenda and share the impact.