A global pandemic may have been the catalyst, but in the last few months we've witnessed businesses making decisions that put people before profit. At light speed we’ve had to make changes to reward and benefits strategies to deal with the realities of furlough, remote working, flexibility working, family care, workforce fatigue, mental health... the list goes on.
Rewards and benefits strategy

The trend set by Silicon Valley firms a decade ago and that’s been followed by many has been to throw rewards and benefits at employees in the hope they’ll work harder, faster and more. A plushily decorated office, with on tap amenities (fitness centres, doctors, gyms, restaurants, financial advisors, hairdressers and ‘on tap’ beer) and every reward under the sun is a no-lose strategy. Right? Well, not any more. And maybe not every again.

Ironic and paradoxical, what we’ve learnt this year is that not of this really matters. What employees want more than anything is health, stability, clarity and flexibility. How businesses adapt their reward and benefits strategy to reflect this will make it significant difference to how they attract new talent.

Here are five ways to do this:

  1. Start as you mean to go on

    The employee journey starts early these days, so building your reward and benefits strategy into your recruitment and onboarding collateral is a must. Demonstrating why people are your most valuable asset from day one speaks volumes, and word of mouth is everything – so let those new recruits and employees-to-be know what you’re about from the outset. We’re talking progress (not process) here, so make it aspirational, inspirational, motivational, and – most importantly – sharable too.

  2. Stand out from the crowd

    Widely recognised as a critical factor in benchmarking organisational excellence, your employee value proposition (EVP) describes the characteristics that make your business stand out - it’s the reason employees want to get out of bed and give you 100% every day. Building wellbeing-focussed content into the EVP and employee journey will ensure your rewards and benefits strategy is front and centre on every channel – and that will have great people queuing up to join you.

  3. Walk the talk

    Waxing lyrical about the details of your rewards and benefits offering is all well and good, but it’ll only get you so far. Don’t just talk a good game, use creative content to support your culture, build your story, and reinforce your values. The addition of something tangible can be a powerful weapon when it comes to winning the war for talent – plus, demonstrating the qualities that make your organisation unique is the best way to genuinely attract, engage and retain the people you want.

  4. Search for the hero

    We’re not talking wind machines, air grabs and flattering lighting here – when it comes to making sure the right people know what you’re all about, nailing that ‘hero’ message is everything when it comes to maximising reach. And when you understand what your target audience is already searching for online, the kind of words they’re using, and the type of content they like to consume, you can tailor this to take your SEO game to the next level too.

  5. Blow your own trumpet

    Reviewing your benefits strategy now? Don’t be shy - let the market know what you’re doing, as it happens, and remember to keep your story up to date. If you want to attract – and retain – the best talent, it’s time to stop being so British! If you’re offering a frankly amazing benefits package that makes your competitors look out of touch, shout it from the rooftops – they would if they could.

A fixation on the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of employees, delivered with genuine empathy and caring leadership has also set top businesses apart – and now even previous ‘non-believers’ have been jolted into action.