Keeping your employees happy in 2022For your employees
Are you concerned about the so-called ‘Great Resignation’? Locally and globally, it is reported that an increasing number of workers are re-evaluating their current employment situation and determining whether there are greener pastures elsewhere.
Whether your business or industry ends up being hit hard by this phenomenon or not, the pressure on businesses to demonstrate value to keep their top performers and attract new talent will be more intense than ever in 2022 and beyond.
While the staples of a competitive employee benefits program – strong remuneration, novated leasing, company-subsidised training or travel, and equity/share options – will continue to play an important role, employees are increasingly looking beyond the material aspects of their jobs and placing more emphasis on what people-focused benefits their current (or potential) employer might offer.
There are two aspects that will help shape the potency of your staff benefits packages in 2022 for the better:
- Employee leave entitlements – developing new or updating your current leave entitlements to reflect the importance of wellbeing for your employees;
- Flexible and/or remote working options – where, when and how your staff carry out their day-to-day roles.
Employee leave entitlements
While the depths of The Great Resignation’s effects have (so far) varied between industries, no sector is feeling the heat more than tech. Acting on the results of an internal employee survey from 2021 – which showed a decline in staff wellbeing – tech giant Google recently announced a swathe of improvements to their suite of staff benefits.
As reported by John Corrigan in HCA Magazine, staff entitlements at Google saw an increase in annual leave days, along with the types of leave employees can access.
Parental leave for Google staff has been increased from 12 to 18 weeks for all parents, and 18 to 24 weeks for the parent who gives birth. Corrigan notes, complementing the rise in maternity leave, employees’ annual leave (USA) has been boosted by around 35 percent from 15 to “a minimum” of 20 days a year, and carers leave has been doubled in the wake of COVID.
These increases come on top of other benefits that Google provides employees, such as bereavement leave (which covers still-birth and miscarriages) and, notably, ‘Ramp Back Time’; an initiative Corrigan describes as allowing “employees to work a minimum of 50 percent of their normal weekly working hours, while still being paid 100 percent of their normal weekly salary during the first two weeks back after maternity leave.”
Flexible and/or remote working
Countless surveys undertaken in Australia in recent times continue to place flexible/hybrid working arrangements near the top of employee benefits wish-lists.
A 2020 survey of 4,800 Australians and 4,000 New Zealanders on employee perks conducted by employment website Seek – in partnership with Sidekicker.com – found that 59 percent of Australian respondents and 49 percent of New Zealand respondents valued flexible work arrangements as “the most appealing employment perk”.
59 percent of Australian respondents and 49 percent of New Zealand respondents valued flexible work arrangements as “the most appealing employment perk”
More recently, Mercer Consulting’s Australian Benefits Review – published in September 2022 – found that the number of organisations “offering compressed work weeks – full-time hours over four days rather than five, for example – has risen by 29 per cent over the last four years [and] more than one in four Australian organisations (27 per cent) are offering this benefit to employees.”
Writing in The Harvard Business Review in April 2021, CEO of Care.com Tim Allen noted that a survey of business leaders in the US found that 66 percent of respondents “[planned] to offer greater work flexibility, a family-friendly benefit with no direct costs to the business. To attract and retain… employees, companies are planning to provide more options to make hybrid work/life work for them.”
As part of meeting the challenge of providing flexible work to address productivity, reduce burnout and enhance employee wellbeing, the concept of the four-day work week is gaining greater traction both here and overseas.
In parts of Scandinavia, “the four-day work week has been the norm for a while now, with 85 percent of Icelandic workers enjoying the perk,” writes Emily Douglas. “And, according to reports, the move has been an “overwhelming success”, leading to a peak in productivity and wellbeing across the country.”
Microsoft’s Japan office trialled the concept in 2019 over a three-week period and reported a 40 percent bump in productivity. Japanese household electronics giant Panasonic recently announced their move to reduced hours, and the list of tech businesses running a four-day work week – an industry for which The Great Resignation is causing employers real headaches – runs deep.
While the four-day work week has its challenges – some organisations still expect 40 hours’ worth of productivity condensed into four days, while others ask employees to work 40 hours over 4 days – it’s proving to be a popular concept with employers looking to improve productivity by giving their people an extra day away from the office to ‘freshen up’.
In addition to working arrangements and more wellbeing-focused leave options, there are other perks that are becoming more commonplace at many workplaces.
Health and wellbeing benefits – like subsidised gym memberships, yoga classes and access to mental health initiatives that go deeper than an EAP – continue to play a role in staff satisfaction, along with assistance with higher ed fees.
But there’s also a strong demand for simple, cost-effective social and ‘bonding’ events such as after-work drinks on a Friday, lunchtime BBQs and activity days. Personal leave or ‘doona days’ for birthdays, time off to volunteer at animal rescue shelters or for making blood donations, and even visits from therapy animals are staff initiatives that some organisations are exploring.
Understanding what your people value beyond the material aspects of their employment means that organisations will have to rethink – more than ever – their employee benefits schemes to combat the potential impacts of The Great Resignation on their workforce.
Many initiatives that have been considered ‘the norm’ in some Scandinavian countries are now seeing increasing popularity in the UK, US and Australia. But it may not be a case of throwing darts at a board to work out what’s best for your people. Start a conversation with them to find out what matters most so you can tailor an employee benefits package that is meaningful to them.
Ask SG Fleet / LeasePlan about how novated leasing best fits in your employee benefits program.