We have been talking to our HR and employee benefits experts here at Broadstone to see if we can gauge what the employee benefit world will look like in 2022. What is very clear is that the impact of the pandemic has not only transformed the way we all work – but it has also cemented the value of HR professionals. Well done to all our colleagues and clients – you have done an amazing job in what has been a difficult time for many reasons that we could not predict coming our way.
Hybrid model is here to stay
Pre-covid many businesses talked about the concept of a work-life balance and how important that was for increased productivity and staff mental health; this concept has now become a reality for many. We all agree that the hybrid model of working is likely to become the norm for some industries as businesses have accepted that staff can indeed work from home effectively (managed appropriately) – but also (most importantly) because your workforce prefers this flexible approach.
Of course, that’s where HR teams come in. They need to oversee and implement an honest and transparent culture, and engagement with employees is going to be critical in order to get the balance right. The pandemic means that disengagement has never been more precarious as changes to working conditions often mean employees are feeling disconnected from their employer.
Is your benefit package fit for purpose?
Being a good listener is an important part of being a good employer. Interestingly, it is not uncommon for employers to tell Broadstone they think their benefit package is what their employees want – and they describe it as good. Conversely, when we start to take a closer look under the bonnet those employees don’t always agree!
One thing staff want from their benefits is personalisation – in 2022, it’s no longer acceptable or effective to offer a one size fits all package. Broadstone can survey staff and audit your employee demographics to establish what they want from their benefit package. Once this is established we can recommend solutions that will help with engagement, recruitment and retention.
We don’t look at benefits in isolation, and not all solutions involve changing or adding specific benefit ‘products’. We know from experience that employee benefits are just one part of the overall employee value proposition you offer to existing and new talent, and our corporate benefit consultants will develop a personalised benefits strategy that is aligned to your corporate objectives and priorities as well as the needs and wants of your employees.
Staff wellbeing is crucial in 2022
We expect to see wellbeing remain high on the agenda – whether that’s offering employees a chance to speak to a private GP (because their NHS doctor remains overwhelmed), allaying concerns about cancer, or offering support on mental health concerns and anxieties. Or financial education on savings, interest rates and the ‘thief in the night’ that is inflation as it rises in 2022. Financial wellbeing is of high importance in a time where staff are facing a cost of living crisis. The key is to listen, learn and provide these perks going forward. The journey to achieving better overall wellbeing for your employees is not a straight line; we can work with HR teams to help set an objective, review, change if required and evolve again and again.
Benefits should be easy, accessible and efficient
And it’s important to remember that many solutions are not cost-prohibitive. Broadstone also offer a specific platform tailored for SMEs. Flexcel lite is a very user-friendly digital platform which gives you and your employees instant access to a great range of benefits that are immediately available at an affordable price. The platform can run alongside existing benefits as well as introduce new ones and allows SMEs to offer a far more comprehensive and cost-effective suite of benefits than they could provide alone. With mental health support being so important, it even includes up to six face-to-face counselling sessions for any employee who is really struggling to cope, as well as access to the MyMindPal app. This is alive with simple exercises, tools and techniques that match your employees’ mental health needs. In a world competing for talent, smart solutions can help SME employers punch above their weight to attract the right staff.
In addition, the Flexcel lite platform involves minimum admin which can free up the time of busy HR teams to consider the various other issues they will need to face this year.
The benefits staff are able to choose – and the platform from which they can do it – play an important part in showcasing to employees that they matter. It shows that organisations know their staff but also that they want to give them the slick experience they expect. An employee-centric benefits platform gives your organisation the perfect opportunity to introduce a 24/7 ‘consumer’ experience for selecting benefits. It provides the perks employers know their staff will enjoy.
That’s why at Broadstone, our philosophy is simple: benefits should be “easy, accessible and efficient”. For more information on employee engagement, our white paper on the topic is free to download here.