How flexible benefits can improve employee engagement

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of us to do some thinking and re-evaluating of what matters to us. Part of this has been rethinking our approach to working and becoming more confident in making work fit around our lives, rather than the other way around.

More employees are working flexible hours, choosing whether or not to return to the office or if a different form of work fits them and speaking up if they are unsatisfied at work.

If employees feel unsupported to make these changes, then many are looking for employment elsewhere.

As a result of this, there is an increasing importance for employers to think about their employee’s experience, satisfaction levels and whether they are offering the right things to retain employees.

A big draw for employees is the benefits they will receive and have access to as part of your company.

Offering flexible benefits gives your employees even more ways to use their employee benefits in a way that makes the biggest impact. Flexible benefits help improve employee engagement in many ways.

It’s important to remember here that employee engagement stretches further than employees simply doing the job that they are paid to do. Successful employee engagement includes wanting to contribute to business success, business values and business growth.

Equality vs equity

Supporting employees with all of their wants and needs is likely to be high on your priority list.

When it comes to providing employee benefits, you could give your employees a set of employee benefits or a budget to spend on a particular benefit. However, this can cause problems as some employees will get better use out of certain benefits than others.

If an employee feels like they can’t use their employee benefits to their advantage, then they are likely to switch off from them. Leaving the employee feeling like their needs aren’t being listened to or met.

Whereas, if you provide your employees with flexible benefits then they can use them in a way that suits their needs.

For example, if you were to offer two employees’ an allowance to spend on the benefits that attract them most, one might spend it on the Technology scheme to get a new laptop for their teenager in school. Whilst another might use it to make use of the Gym scheme so that they can take better care of their health and wellbeing.

Giving employees this flexibility and ability to get the things that matter will help them to feel understood by you as the employer and their satisfaction working at the company will likely improve.

Loyalty and retention

As an employer you will understand the importance of not only hiring talent but retaining it and instilling a sense of loyalty within employees.

This includes giving employees the best experience they can have whilst working for you. Whilst also heightening the chances that employees will speak highly of you as an employer, even if they do leave the company.

To retain employees, there needs to be a focus on employee experience within the company, not just whether employees have what they need to fulfil their job role or not.

Flexible benefits will help employees over their time with you in many ways and employees will appreciate you:

  • Going the extra mile to provide benefits that make a real difference
  • Creating a better employee experience
  • Providing a more personalised employee experience

This will in turn attract employees to stay at the company longer because they know that they will be supported in looking after their needs.

Health and wellbeing

Whilst there are many options when it comes to purchasing items through flexible benefits, a big part of keeping employees engaged comes with allowing them to take care of their health and wellbeing.

Employees can use part or all of their allowance to use schemes like Health Assessments and Health Cash Plan to help make accessing and affording healthcare easier.

To make looking after their health at home easier, your employees can use schemes like the Bike scheme or Gym scheme. Being able to make these regular commitments to their health is likely to mean that employees will be more engaged because their overall health is improved.

When it comes to mental health, the Employee Assistance Programme helps provide employees with 24/7 confidential support. Employees can choose the level of support that is right for them and their budget.

Having this control means that employees can ensure that they are receiving the support they need to keep on top of their mental health. Meaning that your employees are able to be more present and engaged at work.

Reward and recognition

Something that keeps us satisfied and engaged at work, is feeling like we are recognised and rewarded for our hard work.

It can easily cause burnout if we are working hard for a long time and aren’t being given anything in return.

As an employer, you can use your flexible benefits package to reward your employees for everything they have done whether that year alone or throughout their time with you.

If an employee reaches a big milestone, whether professional or personal, you can also use your flexible benefits to recognise their achievement. Sending employees an allowance to use on the benefits of their choosing plus an e-card will help the employee to feel valued and that their hard work is noticed.

For more ways you can use your flexible benefits to improve employee engagement, check out our guide to flexible benefits or get in touch and we’ll talk you through your options!