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How to adapt your employee benefits to boost business post-Covid

Knowledge & Skills

How to adapt your employee benefits to boost business post-Covid

Updated: 19 July 2021

A well-executed benefits package will help you recruit and retain top talent, with your team motivated by feeling valued and looked after. It will also help you spend money wisely, so there is a return on what has been invested. Post pandemic, people’s needs have changed and now is a good time to review your employee benefits so that they fit with the new world of work and the expectations of people.

To help out, HR, accounting and wealth management specialists EST give their tips on how you can get the most from your employee benefits. 

Making employee rewards work for you and your people

As people work longer and delay retirement, there are five generations in the workplace and of course there will be a different value put on benefits according to their stage of life, whether it be childcare, gym membership, health care or pension provisions. In determining what benefits an employer will provide, a good starting point is to give people effective channels of communication and listen carefully to their concerns and aspirations. 

Consider doing a quick survey using Google forms or setting up a group meeting. You can then identify which benefits are most valued, providing important feedback to guide you. 

Impact of Covid-19 on benefits

Employees will need their employer to help them navigate this new phase for some time to come and employee benefits are proving to be a successful way to do that. From offering protection, support and education to encouraging healthy lifestyle changes. 

According to XpertHR, 32% of Employers reported that they have made changes to their benefits and allowances offering in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  EST anticipate that this figure will increase further in 2021 and that strengthening the employee experience will be a top priority for businesses.

Let’s take a look at what post-Covid benefits you should consider.

Well-being

The Covid-19 pandemic has raised concerns about people’s health and wellbeing to the top of the business agenda. The CIPD (the professional body for HR and people development) found that more than 80% of organisations were concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on employees’ mental health.

A holistic framework will support people’s physical and mental health, and offer counselling, and occupational health services where possible. Paid vaccinations would protect against flu and possibly Covid-19 in the future. As well as a benefit well received, it will help manage absence levels.

In this new world of work, Managers also need to have guidance, training, and support to give them confidence in a different and challenging workplace.

Flexible Working

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that, in the case of flexible work design, the impossible turns out to be possible after all. Looking to the future, the CIPD report that 63% said that they planned to introduce or expand the use of hybrid working to some degree. This would involve combining time in the workplace with time at home and flexibility with hours of work, depending on the needs of the job, the individual and the team, and the team working practices with flexibility of hours of work. The introduction of a Home Office Allowance to encourage remote working as an incentive could be considered too. In all cases, care should be taken when developing a scheme that works for your business and ensures employee well-being.

Increased Occupational Sickness Schemes, Insurance and Income Protection

As a direct impact of Covid-19, there has been an increase in the protection and group risk benefits, including long term income protection and life assurance. A benefit that many see as a less-exciting necessity is now vital for those affected by the virus. Private medical schemes are generally not available to all employees, but there are schemes that provide access to a virtual GP, referral to a hospital specialist, as well as dental insurance cover. Health Cash Back schemes are also valued highly by employees.

Bereavement Leave

No-one could have envisaged the tragic consequence of the pandemic and loss of human life. Whilst there are now new legal rights to parental bereavement leave, organisations may wish to review their current bereavement policy.

Cycle To Work Schemes

With restrictions on public transport, cycle-to-work has seen increasing popularity.  This is understandable as bikes became not only a crucial mode of transport, but also one of few ways to exercise safely and enjoy the outdoors. Bike sales have seen significant increase and it is now a popular recreational sport for adults and children alike. Temporary cycling routes are in place and even as restrictions are lifted, we will likely still see a continued interest in cycle schemes due to their ability to maintain social distancing, which we know will continue to be necessary.

Employee Discount Schemes

These schemes are easily implemented for minimum cost.  Employees can save money on the high street, in the supermarket, dining out, enjoying an attraction and more, which offers welcome relief after the many lockdowns as well as supporting those who may have been negatively impacted financially during the pandemic.  With an increased focus on health and well-being, discounted gym membership is often a valued benefit for employees.

Conclusion – Advice for employers

With the world opening a new chapter, it’s a great time to review your benefits package, alongside policies such as flexible working, wellbeing and sickness absence management to ensure that they reflect the needs of the business going forward. Contracts of employment may also need to be updated to ensure that all benefits are included. EST can help with all things HR, helping businesses to navigate through these changing times – visit est-group.co.uk to find out more.

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