Jennifer Roberts: How can reward and benefits contribute to happiness at work?

At Central Co-op, our colleagues are the difference makers. Our society is built on strong cultural values dating back to the original Co-op pioneers focusing on the difference we make within the communities we serve. Our reward and benefits offering is also built on these strong values, aiming to make a difference to our colleagues.

Over recent years, with the fight for talent, candidate-driven markets and younger generations coming into the workplace, the landscape of reward and benefits has changed. Happiness at work means something different to everyone, but one common contributor to satisfaction and happiness in the workplace is flexibility. It has become one of the most sought-after benefits, with colleagues wanting the autonomy to work in a way that helps them enjoy both work and life, while still owning the responsibility to deliver in their role.

We launched our hybrid-working policy at the end of 2022, asking colleagues to work from our support centre one day a week to keep connected to their team. Whether this is more or less depends on their role and their personal preference. We also launched our flexible working trial, Workflex, at the end of 2023, allowing colleagues to work a four-day week or nine-day fortnight. Our colleagues have told us they found this benefit to be “fantastic”, and a “game changer”. We hope to make this a long-term benefit soon as we hve seen hybrid working and Workflex have a direct influence on happier colleagues with increased wellbeing both in and outside of work.

Reward and benefits are one of the times when work and life become intrinsically linked. The benefits that we offer are often used outside of work, like discounts for days out with family and friends; holiday buy allows for more time to do the things our colleagues love outside of work, and healthcare benefits help keep our colleagues and their families healthy. Incentive schemes, when aligned to strategic goals, can make the difference to performance and when achieved, creates fulfilment and the satisfaction of a job well done. Incentives allow colleagues to use that reward in a meaningful way to them.

Sign up to our newsletters

Receive news and guidance on a range of HR issues direct to your inbox

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When done right, reward and benefits in the workplace become incredibly effective at supporting happiness, fulfilment, and engagement both inside and outside of the workplace.

Jennifer Roberts is senior reward and wellbeing manager at Central Co-op