Comp & Ben

Milica Kostić: Comp&Ben Trends: Where are We Now and Where do We Want to Be?

The staggeringly competitive workforce market represents a fertile ground for innovation and effort in making the organizations a better place. Care for the employees is not something out of the ordinary, as in the last several decades employers have been putting all their efforts into being more appealing to the new hires and retaining the current ones. Along with the standard compensation plans, they keep coming up with various lucrative benefit packages. Such companies are not simply fulfilling basic needs, but are aiming to fulfill every need with the aim of being the best place to work.

However, as 2020 hit us, many questions regarding these remuneration packages have been raised with what once was a perk, now is just an ordinary workday.

Why Should You Have Benefits?

As much as the employee needs an employer, their relationship is a two-way street. They must rely heavily on the employees to perform in the best possible way, so that the company can strive as well.

Showing that the organization cares about its people and is committed to providing the best conditions for them is being done through lucrative comp&ben packages. No employer wants to see their best-performing people leave to the organization which can offer more appealing perks, so is pampering them through the psychological aspect of motivating them to achieve more.

From the employees’ point of view, benefits are seen as psychological contracts – the unwritten expectations and obligations between employees and employers. Only when this contract is fulfilled, can the people engage fully in what they are doing. However, when it is breached, their engagement decreases, they become less committed and satisfied. This often leads to poor performance, as well as attitude changes. If more than one employee feels this way, a shift in culture is more than obvious.

Benefits or a Reality?

To ensure attracting more talented workforce to the organization, as well as retaining the current ones, along with the usually fixed compensation package, different benefit packages are being created. Organizations let their creativity take the lead in creating them.

The most common benefits include:

  • Security
    • Pension plan
    • Unemployment compensations
    • Early retirement solutions
  • Financial
    • Financial counselling
    • Company credits
  • Health
    • Health-care insurance
    • Sabbatical
    • Maternity/paternity leave
    • Free fitness center usage
    • Psychological counselling
  • Offering
    • Company car
    • Private cell phone, laptop
    • Free lunch // cafeteria and food services
    • Child-care / company kindergarten
    • Company accommodations
    • Company products discounts, etc.

The question is raised whether these packages are to remain appealing to the employees in the future or should organizations start thinking about recreating them.

Work-from-home once was a seeked-after perk, only offered in a smaller number of companies. Not everyone could enjoy it until last year when most of the companies closed their doors and moved to the new offices – their own homes, and many are to remain working from home and only occasionally visit the offices. This benefit has a great advantage, and that is an increase in company diversity, according to one LinkedIn’s study, it adds to 21% of more geographical diversity among applicants.

Unlimited vacation policy – a dream or a reality? If you had a chance to listen to the last Expert Talk organized for all the SHRC members, you could hear how the employees at LQ reacted to this novelty. Inspired by Virgin’s decision to give its employees the chance to take paid time off as many times as they’d like, in 2020 LQ tested this out and were satisfied with the results achieved. Even though the increase in vacation days was only 5%, employees did enjoy this perk, which reflected in a drastic increase in employee engagement and outcome. Several years ago, a real boom in Serbia was triggered with Nordeus’ decision to implement a no-work Fridays and an unlimited vacation days, which rarely any company could beat.

A canteen with free or discounted cooked dishes comes in handy to busy employees who do not have time to prepare the meals themselves, but want to take care of their health and skip the cheat-days. How has this changed now when there are no people using them? Some companies have come about with the idea of delivering the cooked meals to their employees’ homes, showing that they haven’t forgotten about this health benefit which was originally promised to them.

The most popular benefits among employees of different generations are flexible work hours, paid medical check-ups and paid time off, and additional days off during the year.

Along with regular medical check-ups, and due to the sudden change of work and life conditions with the goal of maintaining mental health of their employees, employers provide help in seeking psychological support for the employees. Online mindfulness workshops, yoga classes and language courses have been more than needed in the past year and many employers recognized the need and offered them to their employees no questions asked.

It is the individualistic approach to talent acquisition that companies now tend to achieve. They are being more and more creative in accordance with the specifics of industry and people they want to attract.

Tailor-Made vs. One Size Fits All

It is not so difficult to create one standard benefit package for all the employees, but will it be good enough to satisfy the ever-changing needs of people, especially in organizations consisting of employees of different generations? Is it time to replace the one-size-fits-all model and create the more individualistic approach? Yes, because studies have shown that people-centric culture leads to ensuring greater employee satisfaction, retention and high performance.

Being able to balance the work-life obligations is quite tough in work conditions where your home is also your office and the face-to-face contact with other colleagues is reduced to minimum. However, some companies have come about with solutions to combat these issues.

Hooloovoo is just one of the companies offering their employees a minimum of 25 days of leave per year, no questions asked! Do we need to add the vacation homes each team member can use and free time add-ons like free tickets, a helping hand and free ski pass for those in need of adrenaline? A custom-made health care package is a great plus – everyone chooses services they need on top of the standard ones.

Speaking of customized packages – Zuhlke has recently come up with different benefit packages offered to each new and existing employee.

Having conducted an extensive research on what their employees are like and what type of employment they want.

Zuhlke employees have an opportunity to choose from:

REcharge – regular or less working hours with more holiday time so that they can balance their private obligations but keep all the benefits,

REady – tailored for all the workaholics who are ready to work more and earn more, not caring much about the benefits offered.

What about all those benefits enjoyed before the pandemics?

Movie nights as a team-building in 2020? Yes, it was possible! A drive-in cinema was set up by Nordeus, providing a one-of-a-kind safe distance team building experience for its people who lacked contact with their coworkers. Where there’s a will, there’s a way – think about other solutions when you decide to cut down on team-building activities.

So, what is yet to happen?

At HR Week 2020 participants had a chance to listen about the newest trends in the benefits market and what has gone wrong with them here. Some of the insights Dušan Vukanović, the co-founder of shared were the challenges companies face when offering benefits:

  • 30% of employees do not understand the benefits offered
  • 75% of employees do not participate in the process of choosing the benefits
  • 42% of employees do not use the benefits offered

This data shows us that the cost of benefits can be quite high and that the employee experience is not optimized. Being able to choose your own benefits which can be 180° different from colleagues’ is not a distant future – it is now, and it is offered via platform. The platform was created with the goal of supporting businesses and their people through offering fully personalized benefit packages tailored to the needs of employees.

Another great platform developed with the purpose of ensuring special perks to the employees is House of Benefits platform. The platform offers three types of benefit packages – flexible, fixed (core) benefits and special offer (voluntary benefits). The employer sets the budget and the employees get to choose and pay for products or services they need.

Have you also experienced that your employees are not quite familiar with the benefits you offer and how they can fully use them? There is a unique solution for combating this challenge – virtual benefits fairs. All the perks in one place just one mouse click away. This can have numerous advantages along with showing employees what they get from you. If you’ve recently redone your offices, but are working mostly remotely which does not provide the newly hired with the opportunity to enjoy the workspace atmosphere, hosting a virtual benefits fair in your 3D virtual offices could be a great way for them to immerse in the (virtual) organizational culture.


Source: Screenshot

Next steps

No matter what industry the organization is in, creativity is something that should never be scarce when it comes to putting its people first and ensuring the best work experience. Each challenge can and should easily be turned into an important learning and developing experience, and instead of running away from it and cutting ur budgets to the roots, it might be wise to step in, accept the challenge and turn on the creative mode and show everyone what one HR is capable of! These benefits need not be extravagant, you do not have to splurge on fancy furniture, lazy bags or ping-pong tables, especially if your employees won’t use them. Rather go with satisfying the needs of them by providing perks they would love and use. These do not necessarily have to make a hole in the company’s wallet if they are created in accordance to the key needs of people.

So shop around, check what others are offering and what your employees need and the plan will pay off in no time.

By the way, have you checked the HR World Marketplace? In case you are looking for switching your benefit system to a fully personalized and people-centric or see all the benefits you as a SHRC member have – what are you waiting for? Visit HR World Marketplace now!

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