Working methods have changed permanently over the past year. Full-time office work is no longer a reality for many of us – we are more likely to spend a significant portion of our work week at home. This change will affect companies of all sizes. Take, for example, the energy giant BP. It recently reported 25,000 global employees which they can expect work from home two days a week after the pandemic. And it is by no means the only organization that takes such action – the reality for many companies is that they increasingly have to serve a workforce that is permanently divided into home, office and forefront.
About the author
Chris Bruce is a founding member Darwin.
In the midst of this new landscape, many of the benefits that used to be the mainstays of premium schemes are no longer relevant to a large workforce. At the same time, last year’s challenges have faced many HR budgets whose benefits are frozen or cut as companies strive to keep their heads above water. When all of this has to be overcome, HR teams need to rethink how they support people and make their pay quotes work harder. As many already find, the answer is information.
Delivers against new needs
Known benefits such as office parties and company absence days have often been highlights on an organization’s calendar for decades. But while they certainly have their own roles, they may no longer realistically fit everyone. After all, if employees work two or three hours away from the office or even in another country, connecting everyone to logistics can be difficult to arrange and cost prohibitive. Similarly, commute-based benefits, such as travel loans, may no longer be relevant or desirable for employees who travel to the office only a few days a week.
Instead, organizations should consider their strategic goals to reap rewards and benefits; in which areas do they particularly want to support their people?
One key area must be well-being. It has been on the company’s agenda for years, but rose straight to the top when the pandemic struck. It may come as no surprise, given that more than half of Britons experienced stress or anxiety during last summer’s lockout.
Data can be important in this situation, allowing teams to track exactly how the use of benefits is changing and detect new trends in their employees. For example, if HR members see an increase in demand for mental health support and counseling, but a decrease in travel loan requests, they can turn spending on these areas and increase communication around the services and tools available to employees.
Not only is this better for employees, it allows HR teams to make the most of their budget. According to our study, 42% of companies invest 20% or more of their employees ’salaries in benefits. When such significant amounts are transferred to prizes, the introduction of data analytics provide staff with invaluable information on how their benefits programs are used and if they generate sufficient profits relative to strategic objectives.
Using the data to analyze real-time engagement can help Teams fine-tune their benefit strategies and streamline reward offerings by providing a better return on investment by supporting employees.
Releasing the power of forecast
Adopting platforms with robust data analysis capabilities will not only help staff balance budgets in the short term, but will also allow them to predict future trends.
Analytics can detect patterns worker gaining benefits and predicting when peaks and troughs in commitment are likely to occur. This means that staff groups can begin to anticipate when spending spikes may be on the horizon, allowing them to make strategic recommendations to the government on balancing costs with employee needs.
For example, if sick day spikes occur annually around the flu season, HR teams can prioritize the communication of healthy eating, good nutrition, and health and well-being benefits. This can help people catch the flu and keep them productive, in their work, and produce the most value for their organization.
Similarly, if the data highlight that long-term housework leads to an increase in musculoskeletal PMI requirements, HR teams can use proactive analysis to model how this trend may evolve in the future and affect a company’s health insurance costs. Teams can then present a knowledge-based argument to management to increase spending on preventative measures, such as benefits that support homework optimization or virtual training sessions. This would lead to healthier, more motivated workers and stabilize medical spending.
Personal salary experience
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing employee support. And new, decentralized ways of working create an even more complex landscape for staff teams. That’s where the front dishes come in. Not only do they give people a truly personal benefit experience, but they also allow businesses to easily track consumption.
Through smart platforms, employers can set specific benefits against their organization’s strategic goals, such as improving mental health, encouraging employees to save more, or preventing long-term illnesses. Employees can then choose how and when they use their funding in the way that works best for them.
For people, freedom of choice is a sure way to increase morale and loyalty in an organization. Data analytics, in turn, allows teams to track spending and commitment by giving them the tools to demonstrate ROI, track the success of new initiatives and strategies, and provide established insights into the meeting room.
HR teams spin many boards when it comes to balancing the needs of a changed workforce with budget requirements. Incorporating information and the insights it opens up creates more and more staff functions that are more agile, influential, and responsive to new developments or disruptions in their organization. As we continue to navigate the new work environment, providing strong data analytics brings all the meaning to successful companies and businesses struggling to get the right, cost-effective support that keeps their best people on board and attracts new talent.