As the year starts drawing to a close, and we start looking ahead to 2019, many of you are reviewing and considering your employee benefits strategy for the coming year. What was effective in 2018? What did your teams say they liked? With a workforce now spanning 5 generations, and mainly comprised of millennials, the face of employee benefits is a wide-ranging and perpetually changing beast. It can be hard to know how to engage such a diverse range of employees. That’s where we come in, bringing you the key employee benefit trends to watch in 2019.
When starting to think about your employee benefits strategy, the best place to start is with the problem. What challenges does your organisation face? Is it engagement? Absenteeism? High levels of stress?
For example, one team might love getting a team run in every Tuesday before work, and find it really boosts their mood, wellbeing, and performance at the office, while a different team might prefer lunch-time meditations for their mental wellness. Every company will approach these issues in different ways, and find different initiatives to be effective.
The Pain Points
Working with HR managers and office managers, we at Feedr often hear about the challenges different organisations face regarding keeping their teams happy and healthy. Here are some of the main qualms companies wrestle with.
When your employees feel appreciated, valued, and stimulated, they will always put their best selves forward. According to a recent survey of HR professionals, employee engagement topped the list as the biggest HR challenge of 2018.
Health and Wellbeing
There have been several studies linking healthier lifestyles with happier and more productive teams, which translates into a nice ROI for the company.
Talent Acquisition and Retention
80% of people say perks are crucial to attracting and retaining them in their positions. Get them right, and you’ll give your company the best chance of attracting and keeping the strongest candidates out there.
Whether it is deliberately long canteen queues designed to stimulate discussion and ideation, or sound proof work pods, companies can sometimes take the experimental route on this one.
Company Culture and Morale
Everything going on at the company affects its culture. On the flip-side, the culture underpins everything that goes on in the company, so this is a difficult but important one to get right.
There is no one-size-fits all cure to these issues – every company will have to come at it in their own unique way, because different things will be effective for different companies. However, the initiatives that do succeed all share the same underlying trends. So without further ado, here are the top trends we think will define employee benefits in 2019.
1. Flexible tech
Today’s employees resist categorisation, and expect individualised employee experiences, underpinned by trust and transparency. And who can blame them? Most app-based services we use on a daily basis have personalised user experience at their core. This has led to the rise of individuality which has not yet transpired to the workplace as much as it has in other realms of society. The employee benefits that will stand out in 2019 will be those that are flexible enough to offer employees the ability to use them in a way that suits them best.
That’s why our Cloud Canteen lunch programme is so popular. It allows you to provide your team with a meaningful food perk which caters for all culinary, taste and dietary preferences. Working remotely? Staying home sick? No problem, Cloud Canteen is totally flexible, making it easy to manage these day to day workplace fluctuations. Employees can order on the days they want and the company is only charged for the orders made. Effective perks fit around individuals’ personalities and wider lives. That’s the true way to employee engagement and happy teams.
2. Personalised + relevant programmes
Very closely linked with flexible tech is personalised and relevant programs. As an HR function, the most critical thing you can do is speak to your people about what perks they’d want to see. There’s no point implementing something that no one enjoys or uses to their benefit, no matter how cool or useful it might sound on the surface. At a recent event of ours, Re-imagining the Workplace, Jack Tang, co-founder and CEO of Urban Massage emphasised the importance of looking at behavioural data like facilities or services usage, or rates of engagement, to see what is working and what isn’t.
For example, Urban Massage themselves recently started offering unlimited holiday as a perk, and Jack is a big fan of the results so far. You have to trust your employees to manage their workload and balance it with the other demands of life. And sometimes, deciding to take a half-day for yourself at the last minute to relax and unwind is exactly what might be best for your performance and wider team morale.
3. Gamify everything
Use the trend of gamification to your advantage. 80% of people say a more game-like workplace would make them more productive. Fitbits and other wearable fitness bits have already harnessed the game element of wellness very well, but it is now trickling into other industries and realms of perks.
For example, yulife is a rewards company that looks after employees’ mental, physical, and financial wellbeing through a gamified app. Walk a mile and earn a yucoin – their wellbeing currency – which you can amass and then redeem rewards such as gym memberships, asos, gig tickets, or even air miles! Learn more about yulife in our joint whitepaper report on food and wellbeing in the workplace.
Overall, there is no one ‘right’ way to take your employee benefits strategy to the next level, but if you incorporate elements of these three key trends in your next perk strategy, you’ll be ensuring a more engaged workforce, as well as turning heads of attractive talent. And that’s bound to boost your business and your bottom line.