Increase employee engagement with personalised total rewards

For decades, rewards programmes in the Middle East were relatively straightforward. Salary packages consisted of basic salary, housing allowance and transportation allowance. Many organisations provided an annual leave ticket and health insurance as benefits. Companies differentiated between employees on a single or family status, where, in the latter case, dependents were also covered. Despite this, compensation and benefits approaches followed a rigid one-size-fits-all approach.

These days, companies are recognising the need to modernise their total rewards programmes. While other HR areas have evolved, most total rewards programmes remained inflexible, focusing on experience and company seniority. They seem to have forgotten the employee. Leading companies are consequently transitioning to a personalised total rewards experience.

The benefits

As more studies are conducted in this area, the evidence is also supporting the move towards personalised total rewards. Paid back in higher employee engagement and increased business results, both the employee and the organisation benefit from personalising total rewards.

Payscale found that employees who do not understand the pay process are 60 percent more likely to leave the organisation. (Dave Smith, “Most people have no idea whether they’re paid fairly,” Harvard Business Review, December 2015.) Can your organisation afford this?

Companies have 27% fewer regrettable new hires in the first year, according to Willis Towers Watson. Deloitte also found organisations with highly engaged employee experiences have a 2.3x greater than average 3-year-revenue growth.

Understand what your employees value

While organisations may have the best intentions when creating or reviewing benefit plans, employees may have a very different perception. Moving towards a more diverse workforce with part-time employees, contract and project staff and a multi-generational workforce, employees have different needs. Companies may wish to segment their employee groups further, e.g. critical roles, highly sought after skills and high potential employees.

To learn more about their employees, companies shouldn’t just rely on the anecdotal stories from line managers. Employee surveys can give deeper insights into what employees need and value.

Wen Wan, director of talent and rewards at Willis Towers Watson, confirms “any initiative aimed at improving the total rewards experience must take into consideration what employees value most and how those preferences differ by employee segment.”

Total rewards and HR teams can analyse the data, identify recommendations for the most relevant programmes for employees and build tailor made programmes for the different employee groups.

Consider the various TR components

A few years ago, leading companies in this region moved from providing numerous separate allowances to one consolidated allowance. This was to simplify the administration process and to educate employees about the total package approach. Employees are ultimately responsible for how they spend (or save) their salary.

Despite an apparent still fixed approach to total rewards, 12.8% of companies participating in Informa’s 2019 Compensation and Benefits Employer Survey have already implemented flexible benefits. A further 22.9% of participants are considering introducing flexible benefits.

Compensation

While many organisations have moved from fixed grade and step salaries, broader salary ranges give line managers more flexibility in deciding an employee’s pay. They can define the basic salary based on the criticality of the role, possession of skills critical to future success or, at the time of a salary review, achievement of team goals.

Benefits

Companies can offer more flexibility to employees when it comes to benefits. In the UAE, Mercer at its post-TRS survey meeting identified medical insurance, dental and optical insurance, life insurance, and annual leave as four components ripe for flexibility. Employees can swap these at one time during the year (i.e. at renewal date), reducing the concern of increased administration.

Wellbeing

Rising healthcare costs are a global issue. It’s not just the cost for medical appointments and prescriptions. 1 in 5 absences at work is due to workplace stress. The Global Wellness Institute calculated the cost of ill-being as high as 12% of the United States’ GDP. Companies need to realise the importance of well-being and make it a priority.

Even though wellbeing programmes need a holistic approach, organisations can start with purpose-driven activities for their staff. Linked to their industry, companies can emphasise specific initiatives. For example, pharmaceutical companies can focus physical wellbeing while financial institutions financial wellbeing.

Flexible working

In direct conjunction to wellbeing, employees are craving for more flexibility at work and a better work-life balance or integration. Businesses can review their working arrangements. Core working hours with a flexible start/finish and working from home can be implemented without a lot of bureaucracy. Leading companies offer working from other offices for a longer period (e.g. over the summer), allowing employees to strengthen relationships with colleagues in other locations and possibly combining this time with their annual leave.

Recognition

Instead of waiting for the year-end performance review, more organisations are offering frequent performance check ins. While bonus payments are still only at the end of the year, line managers can use recognition programmes to acknowledge their staff’s performance. Monetary awards like cash and gift cards may be given. More research has found that non-financial recognition (e.g. dining experiences, social recognition) contributes to an individual’s happiness and has a longer lasting impact.

Utilise data and technology

For most organisations, flexibility stops with their IT systems. The administrative burden is too much to provide their employees with the flexibility they so desire.

Total rewards and HR teams should review their current procedures and streamline operations to optimise their internal and external resources. The region remains split on HR technology. While 31.9% of the participating companies in Informa’s 2019 survey will stick to excel programmes for data analysis, 44.7% of participants invested in technology compared to 2018.

By using technology, organisations can support their employees to make informed decisions and create an employee grade experience, which is characterised by its simple, convenient and personalised nature. Intuitive self-service at the push of a button provides the easy usage employees are looking for. Total rewards and HR teams can tailor their communication and education for employees according to the individual’s interests and needs.

Measure the cost and impact of your programmes

As with any other programme, total rewards and HR teams need to track and measure their personalised total rewards programmes. Business leaders will be interested in the financial costs and the non-financial impact. The financial costs may be kept neutral, although the more targeted spend will create non-financial returns. Leading organisations have seen positive impacts on employee engagement, their ability to attract and to retain employees.

Surprisingly, leading companies that have already implemented personalised total rewards are not talking about their financial ROI. Especially in times when we can expect an increase in skills shortages and a continued war for talent, it’s part of their overall employee value proposition (EVP) and their strategy of being an employer of choice.

Make a start and prioritise

The decision to move to personalised total rewards may be taken quickly. However, the implementation may require some time and businesses need to prioritise:

  • Offering more flexible working arrangements can be the first step.
  • Adding more health and wellbeing benefits may be reviewed prior to the annual renewal date and the insurer and broker may be heavily involved.
  • Creating more personalised communication and aligning the total rewards/HR experience to the organisation’s brand may be a cross-functional project.
  • Improving the organisation’s technology for administration purposes and employee communication may be a larger financial investment.

Find out how personalised total rewards can increase your employee engagement. Contact us today.

 

Your top performer has resigned. Now what?

It’s Thursday afternoon. Your employee asked you for a personal meeting. You’re thinking it will be a quick update meeting. Not quite. Your star performer is handing in their notice.

This is not how most of us want to end their week. Receiving the resignation from your top performer can leave you feeling frustrated. So many thoughts are running through your mind. Just what are you going to do now?

Accept and learn

Take a deep breath. It may feel like the end of the world. It isn’t.

You may experience the feeling of hurt and disappointment. After working closely with your top performer, you’ve trained and developed them and don’t understand why they didn’t open up earlier about their plans. The employee may have had their reasons for not sharing them with you. Or perhaps they did all along and you just didn’t listen?

For now, simply accept their decision and take some time to reflect on it.

(No) counter offers

You may not be that ready to accept their resignation. You may consider offering them a counter offer, generally involving a higher salary and/or exposure to specific work and responsibilities.

Some companies categorically rule out counter offers. Such organisations see counter-offers only as temporary band aids. After all, you shouldn’t stop a rolling stone.

Unfortunately, history has shown that most employees who accepted a counter offer will still leave for the same reasons that made them look externally in the first place. Next time around, the company will not offer another counter offer and the employee will leave for good.

In contrast, some organisations may provide a counter offer for top performers in critical roles or working on time-sensitive projects. For these companies, a counter offer closes the immediate need and buys them more time to find an alternative, knowing the employee may still resign in a few weeks or months.

Before committing to any counter offer with your star performer, check with your company’s process and DOA. How long will it take to reach a decision, including answering these questions:

  • Do you know what would make your employee stay (higher salary, flexible schedule, a different project)?
  • Will you be able to match the external offer? Do you want to match the external offer?
  • If not, what non-financial offerings (e.g. new customer, new responsibilities) can you provide? How will you sell these?

Learn from exit interviews

“Employee leave for more money” used to the be explanation. Study over study shows that compensation is not one of the top reasons. For many top performers, a number of events is leading to their resignation.

Organise an exit interview and understand the employee’s motivation for leaving. Exit interviews are ideally held on the employee’s last working day or after they’ve left the company. This way, they don’t have to fear any repercussion for providing direct and honest feedback.

For any exit interviews held by HR in person, careful attention has to be paid to non-verbal cues. Assumptions and interpreting what the employee may wish to say can be misleading. More and more companies therefore use online exit interviews which protect the employee’s privacy and allow them to speak freely.

Implications for the team

While an exit, whether voluntary or involuntary, can impact the team, the disruption can be limited. This is an opportunity to review the team’s roles, responsibilities, processes and workflows.

Most teams generally anticipate some additional work while a replacement is being identified. During this time, support for the remaining team is crucial or a domino effect may be expected.

Managers can spend more time with each team member and modify work goals. At the same time, take a genuine interest in each employee and also help them achieve their personal goals. It’s the latter that also increases employee engagement, something in high demand especially during these times of change.

Just as current work arrangements are being reviewed, focus on making knowledge sharing and succession planning integral parts of running your business. Being pro-active now can reduce the impact of future resignations.

Create a succession plan where you identify those employees who could immediately step in, even if it’s only for a specific period, and who needs to be prepared within the next 6 or 12 months or longer. Do you have any employees who could be cross trained to reduce your dependencies on one individual leaving? Decide what specific training and exposure they’ll require and then start getting them ready. Depending on the transparency levels within your organisation, you may wish to inform these employees about your succession plans while also carefully managing their expectations.

The replacement

As you’re considering the current team structure, you may decide that a replacement is no longer needed. Perhaps you place this role on hold, profiting from manpower savings and only revisit the potential recruitment activities in a few weeks or months.

Should you have determined that freezing the vacancy is not an option, start thinking about the requirements on the role and the ideal candidate. It can be a challenge finding the perfect successor for your star performer. By understanding your team’s needs, you can narrow down on the must have skills, knowledge and experience. You’ll be able to recognise desirable abilities and traits as a differentiator between two (or more) equally suitable candidates.

You may choose not to recruit for the replacement externally and select an internal candidate, although their profile may not be a 100% match. Such a decision may be linked to your overall EVP and HR strategy, focusing on growing talent internally and reinforcing your company’s stand on internal career progression. You’ll provide the internal candidate with an individualised learning plan, acknowledging the support and training they require from you to become successful in the new role.

Make for a smooth exit

While notice periods vary from role and level within the organisation, motivation generally declines quickly after giving notice. It’s best to start the hand over as soon as your top employee handed in their resignation. Agree which activities need to be completed or to whom they need to be handed by what date. Obtain log in details and passwords. Decide who will notify customers about the individual’s departure. When will that communication go out and how?

If your star performer is in a sensitive role, you may wish to put them on garden leave. If you decide that, how will you extract their knowledge and manage the hand over?

Some individuals may ask to shorten their notice period. As tempting as it is to hold them to the entire notice period, be honest with yourself: How much will they actively contribute 9, 10 or 11 weeks into their notice?

To keep the experience with your organisation a positive one, consider agreeing on an earlier end date, especially if brought up by the employee.

You can ask them to take any accrued but untaken leave days. This will reduce your financial responsibility to pay out any such days. Although it may be hard for you to appreciate it, you are, however, giving the employee some time to relax, finish working for your organisation on a high note and start their new job fresh. It all adds up to a positive image of your company and the employee being an ambassador for your organisation even when they’ve moved on.

Finally, wish them well. You may not want to throw a big farewell party. Yet, you may wish to give them a card and say good-bye with dignity and respect. Cherish the good memories you, the team and your top performer shared.

Don’t be caught off guard when your top performer leaves. Contact us today and learn how we can reduce your organisation’s dependency on a single employee. Don’t be stuck in a crisis mode. Be prepared.

How volunteering can create an engaged and happy workforce

Can volunteering be an effective tool to attract, engage and retain employees? Yes and it’s time you use it!

A new approach to attracting talent

Volunteer programmes serve as a proven attraction tool for millennials. This generation is all about aligning their personal values with their organisation’s values. 64% go as far as rejecting job offers if they don’t see the hiring organisation having strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values.

88% of millennials would also leave an employer whose CSR no longer matches the individual’s values. While other generations may not be as outspoken, CSR is also a recognised retention tool.

When it costs almost 1/3 of the employee’s last total salary to replace them, companies also risk the non-financial implications like reduced moral and increased absenteeism.

It’s high time find new, strategic and holistic approaches to engage and retain talent. This is where employee volunteer programmes linked to the organisation’s community social responsibility (CSR) kick in.

CSR and wellbeing

Although CSR has been around since the 1950s, Archie Carroll’s defined the modern approach in his article “Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility” (published in 1991).

  1. Economic responsibilities: Be profitable
  2. Legal responsibilities: Obey the law
  3. Ethical responsibilities: Be ethical
  4. Philanthropic responsibilities: Be a good corporate citizen

The philanthropic responsibility may only be a discretional responsibility for an organisation. Yet, 91% of global consumers expect companies to address social and environmental issues and “contribute financial and human resources to the community and to improve the quality of life.”

Looking at these numbers, no business can afford not to have a CRS strategy in place. In its “2017 Volunteerism Survey”, Deloitte discovered that “creating a culture of volunteerism may boost morale, workplace atmosphere and brand perception.”

They further found 77% respondents to “volunteering is essential to employee well-being.” Willis Towers Watson identified 2 in 5 companies customising their wellbeing initiatives to act as a differentiator to attract and retain talent.

It’s been shown over and over again that employees who feel their organisation is inventing in their wellbeing give back to their employer higher productivity and engagement.

Create volunteering opportunities

Supporting employee’s altruistic values, companies can offer volunteering opportunities in different ways: Giving one’s time, energy, skills or talents to a charitable organisation without obviously expecting anything in return.

It’s here when the company’s sincerity for CSR is tested. Businesses donate money for a cause. Yet, when implementing paid-time off volunteering initiatives, the authentic and genuine approach to CSR is shown. It underlines the commitment for specific issues and causes and there are plenty for organisations to choose from, naming just a few:

  • Education, where employees mentor school-aged children, read out to children or adopt a school
  • Environment, where groups plant trees, organise clean up drives
  • Health, where teams participate in a walk or run to raise awareness for diabetes or cancer
  • Social, where teams offer pro-bono services or take part in Ramadan iftar initiatives
  • Skills, where individuals donate their specialised knowledge

Companies can identify possible causes linked to their corporate goals, mission and purpose. Alternatively, local projects may be selected together with employees. Local government authorities can also act as an introducer to approved charities which whom any organisation may wish to partner.

Reap unexpected benefits

While volunteering increases engagement, organisations have seen other (unexpected) benefits, too.

  • 79% of participants in skill-based volunteering found higher job satisfaction and 70% found it having complemented their career development
  • 92% of respondents agree that volunteering is an effective way to improve leadership skills
  • Relationships with co-workers and colleagues are strengthened, organisational silos are broken down
  • 93% of respondents agree volunteering improved their mood, 75% felt healthier and 79% felt less stressed
  • Line managers can recognise those employees who go the extra mile and who contribute to their communities through company-sponsored volunteering or on their own initiative

Can your business afford not creating volunteering opportunities? Contact us today and find out how company-sponsored volunteering opportunities can build an engaged and happy workforce.

The benefits of HR Policies

We are working in one of the world’s most multi-cultural regions. Individuals from all over the world are coming to work in the Middle East. They are bringing their skills, excitement and hope as well as their beliefs and value systems. Leading a team where languages, viewpoints and behaviours may differ so substantially can be a challenge even for experienced line managers and HR teams alike.

Policies can support creating a common ground for all employees regardless of their background.

What are policies?

While top management determine the guidelines for the business, policies break these down further and define how the business runs. They support the strategic growth, the day-to-day operations as well as organisation’s culture.

What are the benefits?

Written HR policies provide numerous benefits to an organisation.

As companies are growing and hiring new staff, common standards need to be communicated. HR policies help all employees get and stay on the same page and support the company’s culture.

Companies can base their policies on best practices, set to foster innovation, increase the employee experience and strengthen the competitive advantage. Local companies can benefit from the flexibility which the UAE labour law gives them to adjust HR policies issued by their global head office to their specific requirements.

Determining the delegation of authority, roles and responsibilities are clarified for everyone. This, in return, reduces misunderstandings and ensures smooth workflows.

As such, well-written policies provide an opportunity to strengthen employee relations. Reflecting the needs of both parties, they describe the performance and behaviours expected from the employees and the support and guidance given by the company. Should any disciplinary actions need to be taken, they provide a clear framework for consistent and fair treatment and are to prevent lawsuits, as much as possible.

Hence, HR policies consequently serve as a reference point for all people matters.

Which policies to include?

The local laws outline a limited number of required procedures only. Chapter VI of the UAE Labour Law Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 and its amendments describes disciplinary actions whereas Law No. 2 of 2015 against Discrimination and Hatred focuses on the prohibition against discrimination in an employment context.

Companies can therefore decide which policies they implement depending on their needs, provided they do not conflict with the local laws. Typically, companies choose to cover the following areas in their policies:

Recruitment

Organisations can define how they link their strategic workforce planning with the operational recruitment activities like selecting candidates and rehiring former employees. Policies may also include an employee referral programme or deal with the recruitment of family members and relatives.

Code of conduct

Companies can set their own standards of behaviour in their code of conduct, which reflects the organisation’s daily operations, core values and overall company culture. The handling of bullying and harassment situations may be described here, too.

Compensation and benefits

Policies can outline the company’s approach to rewarding employees, eligibility of benefits and allowance and evaluating jobs. They may also include how the company will address salary reviews.

Leave

Besides mandatory leave, companies can support their employees’ wellbeing by providing additional leaves, for example, time off for parental and caring duties, sabbatical or study and exam leave.

Learning and development

These policies address the company’s view on training and can point out the resources available for employees to acquire and develop their skills. They can lay out the criteria for reimbursement of any employee-initiated training, if it is relevant to the job, or special assignments for the employee to gain new experiences.

Performance

Performance policies assist companies applying fair performance assessments. They can also provide guidance on how to deal with unacceptable conduct and help employees improve. A disciplinary policy is normally also in place.

Although there is no limit on the number of policies a company may have, a reasonable and practical approach should be applied. Companies should therefore evaluate the specific needs for their business, however, it is recommended to have the following policies at a minimum written and communicated to all staff:

  • Bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • Code of conduct
  • Disciplinary
  • Grievance

Just as the business evolves and changes, HR policies need to have an option to adjust to the changing business requirements or legal mandates. Do your policies provide you with that flexibility?

HR policies are an effective way to look after your organisation’s and your employees’ needs while providing guidance to handling common workplace issues. Contact us today and learn how we can draft tailored HR policies fit for your business needs.

Increase your engagement this summer

The high temperatures in the summer can affect us, even when trying to stay cool indoors. Add these to engagements results and you are starting to wonder. Will we achieve the sales goals set for the quarter? Will we finish the projects we’ve been working on? No company can afford a slow summer!

Gallup’s research found only 15% of employees globally or 14% of employees in the Middle East engaged at work. These individuals are the ones who drive your organisation forward. Either number is substantially below what any company requires to succeed. It’s therefore a must for any organisation to review their not-engaged population. Easier to identify than the sabotaging actively disengaged employees, not-engaged employees do just enough to keep their job. They won’t go the extra mile or are indifferent towards customer needs or company requirements.

The 3 types of employees according to Gallup’s State of the Workforce (figures for the Middle East):

  • Engaged employees (14%) work with passion and feel profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organisation forward.
  • Not-engaged employees (64%) are essentially “checked out”. They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work.
  • Actively disengaged employees (22%) aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.

The research conducted by Gallup further found once again the direct link between engagement, productivity, sales and consequently bottom-line results. Highly engagement organisations have reduced their safety incidents by 70% and increased profitability by 21%. As publicly traded organisations, they’ve further grown their earnings per share by 115% compared to just 27% by other companies.  Can you afford to lag behind your competition? This summer, start making small changes to increase your employees’ commitment and dedication to their work and your overall success.

Localise your global initiatives

In a region as diverse as ours, many initiatives from headquarters based in the US or Japan may not work here. You’ll need to identify what your employees here value and what motivates them. This can be done with formal employee surveys or informal conversations, whether between the manager and employee or within team meetings.

Encourage new ways of meeting

Walking meetings in the winter time are a great way to get up and moving. Not just physically but also mentally. Summer temperatures are limiting many teams to continue. Conduct a standing meeting. Is your company already active, go further: Hold meetings on out wobbly boards or stationary bikes at your corporate gym.

Provide flexible working schedules

During Ramadan, many companies not only work shorter working hours. They also provide alternative work patterns. Continue offering different start/finish times while implementing core working hours. You can extend your availability for your clients and allow your employees to arrive without the daily stress caused by busy traffic and school drop offs.

Allow employees to switch off

Due to our geographic location, it doesn’t come as a surprise that this region is one of the most connected ones in the world. Many employees don’t feel they have the right to switch off after work. They regularly check their mobiles after work and on weekends, often out of fear to miss an email from their boss or client. Western companies switch off email deliveries to allow their employees to enjoy their time away from the office, resulting in “better conversations”.

Invest in wellbeing

Long commutes, some of the longest working hours in the world plus the increasing cost of living put a strain on employees. As a company, encourage employees to take breaks, eat balanced and healthy meals as well as being physically active.

As part of your wellbeing strategy, team up with your health insurance provider and offer meditation classes. They have been proven to reduce stress and strengthen resilience. Apps like Insight Timer can support the employee while at home or on travel.

Combine physical team activities

Playing sports together has shown to positively improve relationships and increase open communication at work. Employers are using this insight when hosting cricket matches or arranging family fun run days. During the summer, organisations should look at alternative indoor options. Host a summer stairs challenge. While more strenuous at first, climbing stairs is gentle on the joints. Participants will notice their fitness levels improve faster compared to steps challenges.

Do you want to take your team out of their regular place of work to boost morale, find new perspectives and come up with fresh ideas? Take the team to cooler places! A snow hike in Ski Dubai and ice skating in Dubai Mall may sound like fun. Just like the obstacle course at Adventurezone in Times Square, everyone in the team can lift up other members and help them accomplish the course.

Volunteer together

Supporting a cause aligned to the company’s values has numerous advantages. Your written statements come strategically to live by acting on them. Similar to team sports, employees volunteering together form deeper relationships. Companies that are engaged in the local community rank higher in attracting candidates, resulting in lower recruitment costs.

Charities like Dubai Cares organise various open campaigns during the year. If you prefer to hold a company/cause specific event, providers like Gulf for Good can also support you creating these while staying compliant with the UAE charity regulations.

Create more meaning

More studies are conducted showing the relationship between an employee’s values, their role and their engagement levels. The more meaning an individual sees in their job, the higher their engagement and commitment. In the past, this may have been expected predominantly in the charity sector and is no longer this exclusive. Regardless of industry, applying personal interests and finding a purpose in the role has been seen as the number one driver for employee job satisfaction and engagement.

Be an authentic leader

This outlines the importance of line managers understanding the individual’s motivation, values and aspirations. Whether they use daily chats or formal feedback sessions, a line manager can learn a lot about their team members by actively listening and showing genuine concern for them.

Recognise the employee. A simple “thank you” is effective way to acknowledge an individual. It’s surprising to see it as an underutilised tool despite it being linked to an employee’s intend to stay and commitment levels. Paul Mastrangelo and Karen Barbera’s article in CEB’s CHRO Quarterly Q1 2018 identified employees feeling trusted and valued as one of the strongest engagement drivers.

Provide them with formal and informal learning opportunities to develop their skills further. It doesn’t always need to be an external training organisation that delivers a course. Allow your employees to share their knowledge for their own team or for another department.

Support the individual when taking personal development courses outside of work. Continuous development can provide employees with the tools to manage their current role more effectively and prepare them for future roles.

As such, your training and development policy may provide a financial contribution towards the course fees. Alternative schedules as mentioned above and special assignments where theory can be put into practice can boost the individual’s learning and result again in higher engagement.

While not every organisation has the funds for extensive training programmes, global assignments or fancy sports initiatives, introducing even little changes can result in increased motivation, drive and commitment from your employees. Can you afford to not make these enhancements to your current practice? Contact us today and learn how your organisation can benefit from lower absenteeism, higher productivity and overall sales.

Work-life benefits – What do your employees value?

This month marks the Work & Family Month and it is high time for organisations to review their work-life programmes and benefits. Employees in this regions are drained by long hours in the office, exhausted by local traffic and worried about increasing cost of living and school fees. This stress results in lower engagement and productivity while at work. Willis Towers Watson found 38% of the workforce in the Middle East detached or disengaged!

Companies can regress these developments and support their employees by providing work-life friendly benefits. Latest research by World at Work suggests 7 areas for an effective work-life portfolio:

  1. Caring for dependents (e.g. child-care discount programmes at recognised nurseries and long-term disability and care insurance)
  2. Health and wellness (e.g. employee assistance programmes (EAP), call a nurse programme, onsite seminars on stress reduction, resilience and healthy eating and sponsored from couch potato to 5k programmes)
  3. Workplace flexibility (e.g. flexitime, flexible workplace location and compressed work week)
  4. Financial support for economic security (e.g. advanced housing allowances, onsite seminars on financials 101, personal financial planning services and retirement planning)
  5. Paid and unpaid time off (e.g. comp days for long distance travel, sabbatical and extended maternity leave)
  6. Community involvement (e.g. company sponsored volunteer programme and corporate social responsibility)
  7. Eliciting management buy-in and transforming organisational culture (e.g. diversity and inclusion initiatives, employee interest groups and work/process redesign).

Providing effective work-life benefits has proven to be increase employee engagement and productivity, better attraction and retention rates and improved branding for the organisation. Which organisation can afford to miss these?

Companies should consider the following steps when implementing new or enhance their existing work-life portfolio:

  1. Understand your employees and demographics. Use HR data, employee surveys and focus groups to gain insights into what your employees value.
  2. Consider which possible benefits address which needs. Keep in mind that these needs and possible benefits may differ by employee group.
  3. Evaluate what you are currently offering and identify any opportunities for new or enhanced benefits. Employee feedback can help you identify which benefits employees value and appreciate.
  4. Review how the proposed benefits fit with your entire EVP, rewards and talent strategies and ensure they don’t contradict each other.
  5. Decide which benefits you want to offer. Prioritise if needed.
  6. Determine how you’ll measure the benefits effectiveness.
  7. Communicate, communicate, communicate the new and/or enhanced benefits to your staff.

Are you ready to offer competitive work-life benefits fit for your company and culture? But are unsure where to start with all your other priorities? Contact us and find out how we can create and implement a holistic benefits strategy meeting your unique requirements.