While this may sound like an unwanted riddle, the answer is actually very easy. Workplace, employee benefits are not of any use when they are implemented simply as a box-ticking exercise. They are implemented because the company or organisation thinks they should offer workplace benefits, but they aren’t fully committed to the idea.
Why does this matter? What is wrong with workplace benefits that are introduced without huge thought or effort. Surely if they help a few employees they have done their job. If they lead to slightly higher staff retention or look good as a selling point to new recruits, all well and good.
The problem is that this is a, dare we say it, slightly cynical way to think about these benefits and being cynical can come back to bite. Everyone can be cynical, the employee as much as the employer.
You only have to look at social media to find examples of employees not just being ambivalent towards the benefits, but actually being angry at their implementation.
To give a recent example, when there was a focus on mental health, many tweeted to complain that their employer had taken some very small, in their eyes pointless steps to show that they took mental health seriously. The implication was that, in the eyes of the posters at least, the employer didn’t actually care all that much.
It is perhaps not hard to imagine feeling this cynical.
You hear nothing from your employer on mental health, then, mental health is trending, it is mental health awareness week, and all of a sudden an email drops saying that everyone must undertake an hour’s meditation course.
It can look as if there is a desire to simply attach the company to the campaign, the natural feeling might be that once the trend has died down, such emails will again cease. And, all too often, that is the case.
Another gripe we see is from employees who put the benefits against other aspects of work – for instance, they see that their wage has not increased, but that there is a new Cycle to Work scheme. Wrongly, they think that the business has made a choice of one or the other and so the thought is ‘I wish they’d just pay me more, rather than come up with these benefits’.
However, if these are the problems, what is the solution?
The solution is for the benefits to be something the business is genuinely bought into and for employees to also be bought in.
There must be a full range of benefits, with things to suit everyone, not just a narrow selection that only appeals to a small subsection of employees.
Benefits must also be promoted at all times, and not just around social media campaigns, or when it seems convenient. There must be a culture of encouraging people to use benefits that are of genuine use to them.
All employees can be encouraged to suggest what would be of value to them – how can we as an organisation make things easier for you? Benefits aren’t just there to save some money, they also help people balance work and home life. They can make remote working easier, they can enable people to have more holiday time, they can help with family health and dental insurance.
Benefits can also help with mental health, the Employee Assistance Programme a wonderful resource whereby all employees will always have access to confidential, trained experts who can help them with any issues they might be having.
The EAP is a wonderful resource, it can help people with serious issues that impact mental health, so it is a great shame if the messaging around it actually leads to it being viewed cynically.
When there is so much to do running a business, how can time be found to not only implement workplace benefits, but then also ensure they are perceived the right way?
If employees are going to view them cynically, then, being cynical, might it be best not to bother in the first place?
However, let’s snap out of this circle of cynicism.
Workplace benefits do not have to be burdensome, they can achieve all the benefits they are meant to bring but also help to save the business money against National Insurance and also largely run themselves through an employee hub.
It is, dare we say it, a job whereby you benefit from getting the experts in.
At Enjoy Benefits, we have helped businesses and organisation of all sizes and across all sectors to implement workplace benefits that are perfectly suited to their workforce (and also those they might seek to employ in future).
We can oversee the running of benefits, ensuring that they impose little administrative burden on the business, and yet they also appeal to employees – this through clear messaging that relays the benefits and ongoing awareness campaigns.
Please contact us for an obligation-free conversation about how you can get employee benefits just right.
At Enjoy Benefits, we have great experience in helping companies of all sizes introduce benefits that are suitable for their workplace.
Benefits are easy to set up and ongoing administration is then run through a hub, this allowing employees to manage their own benefits while the employer can see which benefits are proving popular and what level of take-up each has had.
If you would like an obligation free chat to discuss which benefits might work for your business and your employees, please contact us by calling 0800 088 7315 or using our Contact Form.