What Matters to Employees

In terms of perks and salary, what matters to employees and what companies believe employees want are frequently in contrast. Indeed, many employers are unaware of which benefits their employees value the most.

Companies must personalize benefits and compensation packages to meet employees’ demands, which vary depending on income, age, and life stage, in order to retain and recruit workers with top talent.

According to Mercer’s 2021 Inside Employees’ Minds survey of 2,000 U.S-based employees, front-line and low-wage workers are departing at higher rates than in the past. And this is mainly to pursue higher compensation because salaries have frozen at most organizations while inflation has grown, the survey reports.

Compensation is less changeable than benefits packages, but companies nevertheless should receive employee feedback regularly in this regard.

Furthermore, the salary must be competitive not only inside one’s business but also outside of it, especially for entry-level employees.

It is important that companies understand that comparing their benefits to competitors is essential. So, it is important to review your benefits packages.

Also, ask these questions: Are they consistent with labor-market trends? How do they compare to what your competitor-organization is offering?

You may be providing many benefits. However, they may not be the proper ones. Or maybe your benefits packages aren’t competitive for the roles or areas where you’re hiring. So, learning what matters to employees (both current and potential) becomes inevitable.

In general, at least three issues are shared by employees of all demographics: physical health, mental health, work life balance, and paid off-time. However, the extent to which employers meet those needs may differ greatly.

This blog post seeks to understand what employees expect from the companies they work for.

What matters to Employees: Physical Health

Physical Health

Physical health benefits are unsurprisingly regarded as the best by nearly all employees across a wide range of demographics.

According to a Fractl poll of 2,000 workers, 88 percent of job seekers give “some thought” or “heavy consideration” to higher health, dental, and vision insurance benefits when deciding between a job that is high-paying and a position that is lower-paying with better benefits.

Employers must provide more than just the fundamentals in order to stand out.

Most companies work out how to take care of their employees’ basic health needs. But, today, medical, dental, and vision benefits are no longer nice-to-haves that make employees happy; they’re incredibly competitive.

According to the SHRM 2020 Employee Benefits survey report, companies are increasingly giving supplemental health benefits while maintaining total health benefits.

In context to the above survey report, employers that offer critical illness insurance, for example, increased from 31% in 2016 to 48% in 2020, while those that offer health savings accounts increased from 50% in 2016 to 59% in 2020. Additionally, telemedicine services were one of the top five extended employee perks in 2021.

In light of the aforementioned survey, it can be concluded that health benefits continue to be the most significant category of benefits that businesses can provide to their employees.

The value of benefits may vary depending on where employees are geographically located.

A company, for example, may operate in a variety of countries with national health insurance, but medical and dental insurance is especially important in territories with no social health care systems.

In this regard, employers may also need to get creative.

For instance, during the very catastrophic wildfires in Oregon and California a few years ago, some of the staff in the mentioned states were given the ability to use air purifiers. And it may mean a lot to the employees.

Basically, you must continually consider how to stay competitive in the market and adapt to changing conditions.

What matters to Employees: Mental health

Mental health

Most often than not, one benefit that both employees and employers agree on is the importance of mental health resources.

Isolating pandemic-related measures like social isolation, videoconferencing, and working from home have had a significant influence on workers’ mental health.

Employees may get depressed when a handshake and the sight of a real person are no longer guaranteed.

According to Mercer research, one in every four workers is highly or extremely stressed. Furthermore, workers under 35 ranked mental health as their top concern.

However, companies appear to be taking notice now.

According to the SHRM benefits study, 25% of employers boosted their mental health service offerings during the pandemic.

It is important for employers that they provide mental health support. Also employers should also encourage employees to take time off and respect those boundaries so that employees have true breaks.

However, while improved mental health services may link business and employee goals, apparently there is a gap between the benefits that companies offer and what matters to employees in this regard.

According to McKinsey & Co. December 2020 survey, 31 percent of businesses prioritize improving access to mental health treatment, but 67 percent of employees with mental illnesses report difficulty accessing care. Furthermore, while 71 percent of companies with front-line staff say they support mental health properly, only 27 percent of front-line employees agree.

Read: Employee Listening Strategy: 10 Effective Steps To Building It

What matters to Employees: Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a significant concern for many employees, which is usually presented in a variety of ways including demand for flexible work hours, remote work, and paid time off.

Many employers, though, want employees to return to in-person workplaces and schedules, but employees are resisting. According to the Mercer report, 44% of employees want to work full-time remotely, while only 16% of companies plan to continue permitting full-time remote work.

But, as opposed to what is observed in the aforementioned report, a workforce in a company may split on whether to return to the real workplace or not.

If your employees want to work from home. And if it is the only reason they are considering quitting, then the impact that is leading them to leave may be severe.

In this regard, companies may also face an issue: deciding between remote and in-office work.

In a company, several employees may want to work from home. But it may be difficult to cater to them as employees can’t collaborate the same over a Zoom call as you do sitting across the table in the same room. 

And this could be one of the most difficult challenges resulting from remote work in the near future.

Due to the dilemma of whether or not to allow employees to work from home or not, companies are increasingly shifting to a hybrid work model that allows employees partially work from the office and from home.

With a hybrid work culture, companies may keep their employees coming to the office while still giving people some flexibility.

In conclusion, companies who wish to keep their employees retained may need to reevaluate the traditional five-day-a-week and 9-to-5 in-office schedule. And if employers do not accept the flexibility that employees seek, it is feared that they may lose employees who want to continue working remotely.

What matters to Employees: Paid off-time

Paid off-time

Employees prioritize increased paid vacation time and parental leave when it comes to achieving work-life balance. Therefore, aside from health care and retirement benefits, we may see an increase in demand for greater paid-off time and family leave.

According to the SHRM poll, an increasing number of employers are now providing parental leave benefits. Furthermore, the percentage of employers that paid for family leave climbed from 16% in 2016 to 24% in 2019 and 31% in 2020.

We can conclude from the SHRM poll that parental leave has become one of the most demanding paid leaves.

While this may be a step in the right direction for employees, parental leave is only offered for a limited time when, of course, a child is born (that is, an employee becomes a parent).

Conclusively, it can be suggested that employers should provide unique advantages that enable flexibility and work-life balance. Some examples in this regard can include floating holidays to promote inclusivity, mental health days, and a summer vacation program (after all, it is definitely what matters to employees).

What matters to Employees: The issue of unclear communication

The issue of unclear communication

In some circumstances, the difference isn’t between what employers offer and what matters to employees but rather between what employers offer and what employees understand about those offerings.

You won’t believe that many times employees don’t realize or grasp the perks they already have through their employer.

The necessity of engaging with employees and teaching them about their benefits is, therefore, emphasized, as the value of the perk may be unclear to the employees.

One of the most important things that we can learn is that businesses must improve their communication about benefits. And to begin with, benefits information in job advertising should be included.

So, it should come as no surprise if a company witnesses a higher applicant rate for its vacant positions after clearly mentioning the benefits that will be provided to a potential employee.

In two years (from the time of the pandemic till now), a lot has happened. People are reconsidering their life and making adjustments. So, this will be a long-term setback.

But employers must respond.

In this competitive environment, it is critical to establish yourself as a destination employer, the type of employer with a reputation for being a good place to work, the type of employer whose employees tell family and friends about how great the company is. 

It is nonetheless not possible prior to meeting what matters to employees.

Read: Achieving Change Management Process: 10 Simple Steps

What matters to Employees (the rather senior ones)

the rather senior ones

Many older workers aged 55 to 65 are preparing to retire, putting companies in a bind.

The largest generation is retiring at a quick pace, leaving behind newer generations that cannot replace the more experienced knowledge. Furthermore, it is hard to fill in the shoes of more experienced employees for obvious reasons. Not only that, but the epidemic only added to this problem.

How can businesses keep their senior staff from quitting too soon? Here are several advantages and techniques that might persuade them to stay:

Lesser workloads for a reduced work-exhaustion

Older employees may have years of both experience and knowledge, but they are likely to prefer to delegate some tasks to colleagues. According to Mercer’s 2021 Inside Employees’ Minds survey, 42 percent of older employees are burned out as a result of a demanding job, which is one of the reasons they would consider resigning.

Provide part-time options

Many workers (older ones) aren’t ready to stop working fully, but when the alternative is working full-time or not at all, retirement becomes more appealing.

According to the Mercer report, 27 percent of workers aged 55 to 64 would consider quitting their current job owing to a lack of flexibility or onsite duties.

Seniority-based company-sponsored vacations

Some employees simply want to take more vacation time. This is especially true for those who reside in chilly winter climates and want to spend some days in a warmer place in February.

Four weeks of company-sponsored vacation time may be enough to keep some elderly workers on the job for a few more years.

Allow for remote work

Remote-work options allow senior people to travel and work while on the road or to live part-time or full-time in another state, possibly closer to children or grandkids.

What Matters to Employees: How can Bravo help?

How can Bravo help

What do employees expect from employers? For some employees, it can be a public or private recognition for their hard work and efforts. And to some, it can be a tangible or intangible benefit. The latter may be more desired for the rather older generation of employees, while the former may be for the newer generation.

So, as an employee, what matters to you in the workplace? The answer to this lies in understanding employee needs. But, until this point in this blog post, we can understand that employees want to be happy and satisfied. And this happiness and satisfaction may be in any form; however, preferences do exist.

Another question: What does a company need from an employee? Simply, it wants its employees to keep working hard.

Clearly, we can see that there is a relationship between what employees need and what their respective company demands.

Bravo, a rewards and recognition platform, understands the overlap between the needs of employees and employers.

To put simply, it helps employees become happier and more productive by enabling their recognition, whether verbal, private/ public, cash-based, reward-based, etc. As a result, they work more productively, which leads to better results for the company.

You can book a demo here for free to learn how Bravo can play an essential role in this aspect.

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