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Making employees feel valued

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How do you build a better understanding of your employees around key drivers to make them feel valued?

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In a day and age where the line between work and life has become increasingly blurred, creating a company culture where employees feel valued and rewarded for their hard work ethic and commitment to the company’s mission is crucial for the success of an organisation.

However, when it comes to rewarding individual employees, gaining a better understanding of what employee’s drivers are for doing their best work is key to knowing how to make them feel valued. Doing so, in turn, will help to drive employees’ productivity and loyalty for the employer’s brand, leading to competitive differentiation in the marketplace, and an environment where employees feel motivated and empowered.

What are the drivers?

When speaking with HR professionals about what drives their employees, some key themes I am hearing are: the changing work environment; an always-on culture; recognition and rewards; wellbeing; and finally, personalisation.

Research conducted by Mintel into working life in the UK, has shown that employees continue to struggle with finding a work/life balance. Twenty-seven per cent of all workers find it hard to eat healthily during the working week, while 34 per cent of workers struggle to find time to exercise (1). As a result, there’s increasing demand from employees for their employers to gain a better understanding of their outside-of-work commitments, so their employers can help them to make the most of both worlds.

Playing into this, is the notion that the traditional 9-5 working model is changing. Flexible work arrangements and technology mean employees can be as productive away from the office environment as they are in it. They can work successfully at home or in the evenings, and at the times that make most sense to them – even if it’s long after their contracted working hours, when their children have gone to sleep for example.

Because of these increasingly blurred lines between work and life, employees can often feel that there is not enough time in the day, with many feeling stretched between deadlines at work and dealing with “life admin”. For example, according to Mintel’s latest research on working life in the UK, workers are so stretched that 52 per cent take less than a 30-minute lunch-break and six per cent take none at all (1). This squeeze on time can clearly lead to a lot of stress and frustration (2), therefore finding ways to help ease these pressures is a key driver. 

Benefits that make employees feel valued

Many of us who have worked at large companies associate benefits with having a good pension, health and life insurance, and subsidised gym membership. While these are all valued and appreciated by employees, they are often seen as a given.

As a result, companies that wish to stand out from the competition and retain their talent, should consider deploying benefits that address the varied demographics of their employees. This should not only be based on what employees have voiced is important to them, but which support their corporate culture. The importance of which cannot be understated. According to a Glassdoor survey, Bringing radical transparency to the workplace, four out of five employees want perks or benefits more than a pay rise (3). So, what else can companies offer that can drive real value?

Many companies I have spoken to are now choosing to focus on more experiential benefits, rather than something with a monetary value (3). For example, we have seen companies offer massages, sleep pods and yoga classes to promote wellbeing, while others offer quality free food and child care, and some we have spoken to are also offering ways to support elderly care as the population ages.

Another option to drive value is to look at travel and lifestyle concierge services that help employees make the most of their hard-earned money to allow them to spend quality time with their friends and family, while helping them to save time. Concierge provides a bespoke employee solution so that each employee can benefit from it in a way that most suits their aspirations, lifestyle, and income.

Giving employees access to an expert lifestyle manager via a digital platform, phone and/or email can help employees to manage their lives, it can take away stress and give back precious time. When an employee has multiple deadlines and tasks at work, they likely don’t have time to go shopping for that special birthday gift, organise the family holiday or deal with a home emergency that means getting quotes for a plumber. If they can, however, have a service on hand to support them and even remind them of those key dates such as an anniversary, knowing it is being dealt with by professionals, who know what they want and how to deliver it, it allows them to concentrate on what’s important to them at that time. This also ensures that it’s a benefit very much targeted at them as individuals as there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a personalised request.

Measuring value

Quantifying whether employees feel valued as a result of their company’s benefits is vital to measure success and Return on Investment (ROI) of any benefits offered but can often be one of the most difficult things to do in a meaningful way. One of the main tools commonly used are employee surveys but they are typically not very frequent; response rates are low, and the value question is often buried in a range of other topics we try and gain insight into.

While employee surveys still have a place, another arguably more accurate and insight rich way of measuring success and usage uptake is through data visualisation and analysis. Real value comes when benefits providers work collaboratively with employers to better understand the data points, behaviours, insights, and trend patterns shown by their employees when engaging with a benefit as well as time saved. Business Intelligence offers a true lens on the everyday lives of employees assisting companies in their quest to deliver the most personalised and valued benefits, and analysing behaviour to drive future rewards and benefits. This can be strengthened when coupled with the data from regular NPS surveys, a method that measures customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend a product. The employer can get an understanding of an employee’s satisfaction in just one question supported by qualitative feedback.

Conclusively, by gaining a more meaningful understanding of a company’s employees through technology, employers will not only build a better relationship with their employees and as such increase loyalty towards their employer brand, but they’ll also set themselves apart from their competitors.

  1. Mintel, The Working Life – UK (J. Duckett, 2018)
  2. Canvas8, How can you motivate a workforce (A. Caminer, 2017)
  3. Glassdoor, Bringing radical transparency to the workplace (R. Smith, 2015)

By Victoria Carvalho, Employee Loyalty Managing Director, Ten Lifestyle Group

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