The returns on work-life benefits are visible as employee attrition levels drop, the longevity of the tenure increases and employees are motivated to perform better
Every organization needs a highly talented, engaged and motivated set of people, who spend their time enhancing productivity rather than looking outside for greener pastures. It is time that Indian organizations use every tool at their disposal to attract and retain talent as the expectations of employees are at an all-time high. HR professionals are under increased pressure to develop innovative and intrinsic ways of motivating and engaging employees. An ideal Total Rewards plan is the perfect blend of compensation, benefits and work-life balance apart from recognition and right career opportunities. While the compensation part gets a lot of focus, it is not the only component that helps employees engage with an organization.
In the Total Rewards basket, work-life benefits are becoming increasingly important. Though tangible in nature, they are perceived as softer benefits contributing to employee retention, well-being and performance. Such benefits comprise of options such as providing healthy meals at work, child care, employee health (not only curative but also preventive healthcare) and employee recognition. The returns on work-life benefits are visible as employee attrition levels drop, the longevity of the tenure increases and employees are motivated to perform better.
Employers today are choosing a variety of options. This includes work-life benefit offerings such as life insurance, profit sharing, employee stock ownership plans, meal benefits and child care availability amongst others. In the days to come, the focus might shift towards flexi-plans, employee & family welfare etc. In order to provide the best employee experience, companies are outsourcing the benefits to specialized organizations who offer a wide array of work-life benefit solutions. One such point was raised by the Edenred - People Matters survey on Work- Life Benefit Trends 2012. It observed that 62 per cent of the respondent organizations chose to outsource meal benefits to a third party in the absence of any in-house capabilities to administer such non-cash benefits.
Using non-cash benefits
Majority of the companies use cash payout in one form or the other to capture employees’ attention. However, nominally funded non-cash perquisites can turn out to be a great tool to attract employees. Merchandise coupons, gift cards, meal vouchers etc can be as motivational as a cash rewards. Apart from material options, some companies are also using ESOPs.
Fab India, an Indian retail outlet, offers Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP), recognition opportunities and insurance covers for their employees as non-cash benefits. When employees were given an opportunity to sell their shares, most of them decided against selling it as they were confident that the company’s performance and growth trajectory would continue to be near vertical, resulting in further gains for them. Employees also view themselves as key stakeholders in the company and feel a greater sense of ownership towards the achievement of business results (Source- Edenred People Matters Work-Life Benefits Trends 2012).
In terms of non-cash rewards, a few options that are being preferred by companies are in the sphere of coaching, training, skilling etc. Registering employees for a training session, career counselling etc are becoming increasingly popular. On the other hand, options that help employees pursue their hobbies are also appreciated. These include giving them some time off every day to pursue their hobby, chance to get dance training, tickets to a music concert etc are widely appreciated by employees. Giving an employee the benefit of flexible office timings for a month, fixed parking spot etc are some interesting options which are being explored by some of the companies.
Some studies show that non-cash perquisites have greater effect on employee performance because of recognition associated with them. They have great trophy-value and are more promotable; unlike cash rewards, employees find it easier to celebrate non-cash rewards and thus give desired outcome to organizations.