Employee Benefits Insights 2021: Megan O’Shaughnessy, head of reward at BT, detailed the “growing importance of flexible reward strategies post-Covid” at the online event.
O’Shaughnessy acknowledged that many organisations may not be in a position to offer traditional reward levers such as pay rises, bonuses or long-term incentive plans as a result of the pandemic.
“Those traditional pieces that you can play with to engage, attract and retain your staff suddenly come off the table,” she said.
Instead, she advised employers to focus on using softer reward elements such as health and wellbeing perks.
In addition, O’Shaughnessy said honesty was the best way of honing trust among employees and urged companies to be transparent about the state of their business and what they could and could not offer staff in terms of reward.
BT was able to give some of its frontline colleagues an annual pay rise last year in recognition of their work, but O’Shaughnessy added that she had also had conversations with colleagues informing them that they were not in a position to do a pay review.
“People have turned around and said to me ‘do you know what, I’m just quite grateful that I have a job’,” she said.
If traditional rewards are no longer at an employer’s disposal, O’Shaughnessy suggested trying to galvanise employees to be proud of who they work for.
She admitted there may be some people who are motivated only by money and who may leave, but added: “The people that you want to keep are the people who really want to drive the business forward and if you can get that sense of proudness out of your colleagues then you’ll be doing a really good job.”
The full agenda for the week-long Employee Benefits Insights Series can be found here. All sessions will be made available on-demand once the series has finished for those who cannot attend the real-time slots.
Participants can register right up until the event starts and can attend as many sessions as they desire.