As a business, you don’t need us to tell you that reputation matters; public perception of your brand can be critical to its success or failure. Over the past few years, Xexec has been regularly ranked in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 and we’ve seen first-hand the positive influence that these kinds of accolades can have, on clients, prospective clients and, indeed, employees.
In fact, your reputation as an employer is crucial as it will impact on your capacity to attract top talent – and there is no doubt that for existing employees, a sense of pride in their organisation can help engender loyalty and increase motivation.
So, with so much at stake, how can you ensure that your organisation maintains an exceptional reputation as an employer and that, more than that, your employers act as ambassadors to your brand? A great place to start is with your employee benefits and engagement strategy. Here are some points to consider:
Work-life balance is often highlighted by employees when asked about their job satisfaction and, unfortunately, it is more likely to be mentioned if they consider it to be bad. A long hours culture – where staff are treated more like commodities than individuals with personal lives and relationships that also need their attention – is sure to get you noticed, but for all the wrong reasons. One way to address this is to introduce more flexible working opportunities to enable people to manage their work around other commitments and responsibilities. Of course, flexible working is not suitable for every business, but it doesn’t have to mean everyone suddenly working from home or changing their hours dramatically. Small changes can make a big difference; perhaps allowing a parent to start at 9.30am instead of 9am will more easily enable them to do the morning school run and is unlikely to have a huge impact on productivity. Allowing someone who is commuting to take a later train and avoid the busy and expensive rush-hour could be mitigated by providing them the means to work whilst on the train. Indeed, technology is a great enabler in flexible working. Which leads me to my next point…
Deliver on technology
Technology can be a help or a hindrance to your employees, depending on the systems you have in place, and it is increasingly the case in any sector that staff expect you to have technology factored into your employee benefits platform. This could mean running your employee benefits, reward and recognition programmes via an online portal, that is quick and easy to use and can be accessed any time and anywhere. It may also mean providing company mobile phones, tablets or laptops – which help staff to work more flexibly and efficiently when out of the office and (of course) to access their employee benefits quickly and easily – or simply giving staff access to the best deals and discounts so that they can buy the latest personal tech for themselves at amazing prices. In truth many of the gripes that employees have with technology relates to how it affects their work on a day to day basis. An absence of appropriate technology is likely to be an increasingly noticeable factor, especially for younger generations of workers who have grown-up with their screens. And of course, if you are going to have access to the latest technology, it helps if you know how to use it…
Go above and beyond with training
Training should be at the core of your employee engagement strategy. Offering people opportunities for professional and personal development can go a long way in building a reputation as an exceptional employer, especially if the training on offer is not limited to what is directly relevant to their roles. Ensuring you offer effective and appropriate training on the systems staff use every day is the bare minimum any business should offer, but you would be surprised by how many staff flag a lack of this in their own organisations. Improving general skills such as writing, networking or accounting should also be a standard training offer as part of your benefits package. But if you really want to avoid those worst-employers lists, go above and beyond. Offer people the opportunity to learn a new hobby, or develop their existing skills. After all, it’s hard to imagine someone whose employer has just paid for them to go on a baking course or yoga retreat writing a bad review.
A thoughtful and tailored benefits package can help to create a firm full of brand ambassadors and stave off the risk of reputational damage.
Get in touch with Xexec to discuss how to get the most out of your employee benefits scheme.