Cashless benefits attract and retain employeesFor your employees
Retaining high performing and highly skilled staff has always been a challenge for employers.
In recent years, the growth of the gig economy, and the increasing number of people electing to work freelance who fall under the cohort known as Generation Z (Gen Z), has been a nightmare for employers looking to attract fresh talent. The Coronavirus pandemic has only made it tougher for employers to structure employee benefit programs that resonate with Gen Z.
What matters to Gen Z?
Today’s Gen Z workforce places a premium on the quality of their work and their commitment to an employer being properly recognised in their take-home pay. While it’s never been easy to get a salary increase, fewer HR and department managers are approving regular salary raises nowadays – not due to mean-spiritedness but mostly because the budget isn’t available to increase the salaries of high-performing employees.
The uncertainty that surrounds the global economy’s response to the pandemic is also a huge factor in the absence of meaningful wage growth in recent years. While The Great Resignation is an undeniable phenomenon, it’s not an across-the-board trend. Employees in the hospitality, manufacturing, technology and healthcare sectors have been the main beneficiaries. In many other industries – such as marketing and communications, logistics, transport and government – wage growth continues to be outstripped by inflation.
This type of earning stagnation has adverse effects on employee satisfaction and retention, with the opportunities for receiving a pay increase continuing to disappear. Consequently, top-performers – who are often the youthful, ambitious and energetic Gen Z – will waste no time looking for other opportunities where they can earn better money or receive greater benefits.
Gen Z employees take their work/life balance and wellbeing seriously.
Studies also show that Gen Z employees take their work/life balance and wellbeing seriously. The people in this demographic have long preferred the flexibility of choosing their work hours according to lifestyle factors, and family or social commitments.
Gen Z also prefer working from anywhere other than a conventional office because of the costs (in time and monetary terms) associated with commuting from outer suburbs to capital cities or larger regional hubs. As a result, the accelerated shift to remote and flexible working instigated by the pandemic has removed one of the most popular, non-financial retention levers many organisations had at their disposal (i.e. flexible work arrangements). This has only added to the difficulty of providing genuine incentives that meet the needs of Gen Z workers.
Such aforementioned factors help to explain the high degree of movement between organisations for Gen Zs when compared with previous generations. To remain competitive, however, there are many ways you can reward your employees without dipping into the cash jar.
Work-life balance and wellbeing
One thing Gen Zs value highly is a healthy work-life balance and a focus on their wellbeing – and not just paying lip-service to the concepts but building genuine work-life balance and wellbeing initiatives into employee contracts (extra leave for birthdays, EAP counselling, etc).
In the wake of the pandemic, prioritising wellbeing as a driver of performance and employee retention will put organisations in a strong position to reduce staff turnover and attract more skilled staff. For example, minimising the feeling of isolation that’s becoming common amongst remote workers, allowing employees to discuss issues of financial hardship with you in a ‘safe space’ and identifying (and minimising) employee burnout will strongly align with the priorities of your Gen Z workers.
Australians and New Zealanders love cars. And, by and large, Gen Z is no different, even though the types of cars may have changed. However, anxiety over high petrol prices, exorbitant parking costs in major capital cities and concerns about the negative impacts of carbon emissions produced by petrol engines, the increasing popularity of car-sharing/car-subscription and ride-sharing schemes, and other forms of mixed mobility has not gone unnoticed. It presents an opportunity for savvy HR professionals to retain staff without smashing their budgets.
Australian and New Zealand employers would be wise to offer the ever-popular novated leasing options, alongside a broader choice of mobility benefits.
SG Fleet notes a growing trend in Europe with mobility card packages that allow staff to make salary packaging arrangements for trains, buses, taxis and, in some cases, even bike-sharing enterprises. These are examples of employers better recognising how their people transport themselves from point-to-point and, therefore, offering a larger range of mobility salary packaging options to suit. This is the kind of employer innovation you should consider to meet changing workforce expectations.
Pay increases and title bumps aren’t the only levers you can pull to keep and attract the best young talent out there today. Understanding that cashless benefits carry just as much cachet among younger workers will help you structure a more versatile and flexible employee rewards program, and help you keep high performing, highly skilled young talent in your organisation.