Article: Rewards Special: Intangible Benefits

Strategic HR

Rewards Special: Intangible Benefits

Sandeep Banerjee, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Edenred (India)

Edenred does not just look at tangible benefits, but also at intangible benefits. There are four pillars that are considered as the basis or elements of Total Rewards and they are compensation, benefits, environment and development for employees to enjoy the time they spend in the organization and the development and learning potential of employees. Total Rewards is an emerging concept, which is gaining traction in most organizations.

Medical reimbursements, health insurance and paid leaves, focus on employee welfare, career development and recognition. The organizational environment, physical and people infrastructure are key components of the intangible benefits. For example, companies are figuring out solutions for key employees to work from home or work at flexible timings because commutation is becoming a huge problem in major cities and that is affecting the productivity of employees.

In the rewards and recognition space, companies are looking at structuring creative and meaningful programs. It is important for an organization to realize what the employee understands of the overall vision and how that can help in his/her personal growth and dreams. That is one reason why learning and development are getting aligned to individual aspirations. Part of the development is the fact that employers are encouraging their employees to get actively involved in CSR activities. Organizations want their key employees to get rooted to the ground realities around their businesses and get connected to the humane side of their lives.

At Edenred, we encourage 40 young managers to take 2 full days out of the year (which are paid leaves and are over and above the leaves allotted to them in a year) to identify NGOs where they go and engage with various beneficiaries for causes related to education, health and food and try to make a difference to their lives. Today, it is becoming more and more important to find a larger meaning and purpose to one’s own individual life. It is all about how one grows and evolves oneself into a good human being. As a result, the total rewards trend is growing awareness in organizations.

Companies have long-term and short-term compensations like bonus, medical insurance, etc; however they are focusing on intangible benefits and the development of individuals. They are increasingly concentrating on creating learning and development opportunities, which are life-related to help employees connect with a part of their life and are trying to fill the emotional connect. Companies are de-layering themselves and the hierarchies are becoming relatively flatter and the top management is becoming more accessible and accountable. Employers are looking at establishing emotional connect with their employees, where they are focusing on creating trust in the organization and are also empowering their employees. These are initiatives that companies are taking, that ensure that total rewards are better appreciated by the employees. In today’s context, it is really important that the total rewards program is meaningful and well appreciated. Unless there is a culture in the organization that imbibes emotional connect, this would be useless.

At Edenred, we have our products and services in the benefits space within the total rewards philosophy. In India, our flagship products are vouchers and cards, which provide a healthy meal at the workplace as well as a shopping experience of choice with family, friends or colleagues, which act as a great motivation tool. We have to understand that the social landscape in India is changing fast and more and more nuclear families are emerging as a consequence. Nutrition gets ignored due to the fast moving pace and both partners working. Therefore, we realize the value of a good and healthy meal at work.

Edenred has strong rewards and recognition programs/benefits in India and works with mid/large size organizations in structuring end-to-end rewards and recognition programs, right from conceptualization of the program to the last mile delivery. We also help them communicate that program through our in-house creative team. We have a web portal where employees can login and interact; there would be messages from the HR or the CEO on different parameters like safety norms, spot rewards, recognition, etc. These employees then get points that can be redeemed on very attractive online catalogues. There are also reports that are sent back to the CEO and HR heads to evaluate the materialization and effectiveness of the program.

We have a range of gift vouchers and cards. We have Ticket Compliments® Gift Vouchers, Ticket Medica® Health & Wellness Vouchers, Ticket Compliments® Holiday Gift Vouchers and e-complements, which is a digital voucher used by organizations for rewards and recognition.

With regards to trends, we see a clear inclusion of preventive healthcare and childcare as a part of the total rewards structure. It is no more just about medical insurance; it is all about spiritual and emotional welfare, health check-ups, etc. With young couples working in nuclear families, a big concern is how to take care of their child. Childcare is a very strong employee benefit trend and is emerging as an important criterion for employee benefits. Edenred strongly wants to bring its childcare vouchers to India. We also have companies giving emotional counseling to employees as a part of total rewards packages. We have counselors talking to employees on stress issues, issues between employee and reporting managers and these can be made available either online or offline through Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). It is an important component under total rewards.

In totality, we have meal vouchers and cards viz. Ticket Restaurant® Meal Vouchers and Cards, Ticket Compliments® Gift Vouchers for rewards and recognition solutions and we have our online technology. We are in the process of bringing healthcare and child care vouchers to India as well.

Our commercials are customized and we do not follow the one-size-fits-all policy. Typically, our commercials depend on the size of the corporate and the complexities of the program. For the rewards and loyalty solutions business i.e. Accentiv’, we operate on a setup fee, license fee and redemption margins as per the catalog, whereas for the Meal/Gift vouchers and cards, we operate on a nominal service charge.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Compensation & Benefits, #Trends, #HRIndustry, #TotalRewards

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