The evolution of employee perks and wellbeing support in the modern workplace

The evolution of employee perks and wellbeing support in the modern workplace

What they are, and why they should be on your business’ radar.

Perks and benefits that add value to an employee’s experience at work beyond their salary have always played a vital role in employee engagement and, in turn, organisational success. And while employee benefits such as holiday allowance, pension payments and basic health care plans remain fundamental components of employee benefits packages, many businesses are finding that these prescriptive perks are no longer enough to retain, onboard and motivate their team members.

For years, these perks have catered to large groups and their general needs, but in the modern workplace, we’re increasingly seeing a host of new, diverse benefits and employee perks as well as more personalised support that’s tailored to the individual. So, what’s caused this? Like many aspects of the workplace, the pandemic has played a huge role in accelerating this change. Following The Great Resignation and huge talent shortage, there has been a significant shift in the power dynamic between employers and employees. More so than ever, individuals are having the upper hand over their employment opportunities – and businesses are having to compete to attract and retain talent. Because of this, a growing number of organisations are offering innovative perks to make their company culture more appealing, increase their EVP and support the evolving, diverse needs of their people. We’re seeing more business leaders taking new steps to understand their team members on a more personal level, in what appears to be a new appreciation for individual circumstances and the effect these have on a person’s ability to perform and flourish in the workplace.

At peoplevalue, our solutions help our clients add value to their employees’ lives. We’re always fascinated to see evolving trends in the employee engagement and benefits space and take these into consideration when looking to develop our technology and offerings. 

Let’s take a look at the way employee perks and wellbeing support in the modern workplace is changing and the businesses that are helping to pave the way.

Health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing support is now a must-have benefit. From a 24/7 GP helpline to gym membership discounts and mindfulness courses, offering a range of tools that support employees’ physical and mental health can help create a supportive culture and demonstrate that their organisation values them beyond the work they do. However, more and more businesses are discovering that, like many employee perks, health and wellbeing support isn’t one-size-fits-all, with many now opting for an elective approach – whereby individuals choose support relevant to them – and packages that cover an array of unique and individual needs. 

One example of this is increased menopause and fertility support. Over the last few years, emerging research has shown the crippling effects menopause can have on female mental health. 10% of women experience lower than usual moods throughout menopause, and when coupled with the physical changes that occur during this time, this can have a huge impact on work and quality of life. Similarly, there are significant mental health impacts on men and women who are going through pregnancy loss, fertility treatment and new parenthood. It’s, therefore, no surprise that a growing number of businesses are finding that providing support for these health-related life events is in the best interest of both the individual and organisational success. 

Online clothing retailer ASOS has recently announced several new policies including flexible working and short-notice leave whilst going through menopause as well as paid leave for staff who are undergoing fertility treatment or pregnancy loss – but they’re not the first company to introduce new policies like this. In the past twelve months, several UK-based companies, including Natwest, Centrica, Clifford Chance, Cooley, Vodafone and Santander have launched fertility and/or menopause support, to show their commitment to supporting the wellbeing of their teams.

Other modern employee wellbeing support includes:

  • Full health screening and assessment 
  • Addiction programmes
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)/ Increased mental health support
  • Grief and bereavement support

Through our health & wellbeing solution, the zone, your employees can access a wide range of professional services and tools in one convenient space. Find out more here.

Career development 

Whether it’s a chance to take on more responsibility, become an expert or reach a managerial level in their role, it’s likely your employees will have a variety of goals they hope to achieve whilst working for your organisation. Having the tools and support in place to help your current and prospective talent develop their skills and progress within your business is invaluable in ensuring they remain engaged and dedicated. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning & Development Report reveals that 94% of employees said that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.

However, while coaching, upskilling, training and further education are still very prevalent in many workplaces, the more modern approach to career progression is based on personalisation and flexibility. Previous career development techniques have been prescriptive – with the same career progression plan mapped out for every employee of a certain position. But who’s to say every junior or assistant in the business aspires to one day be a CEO or even line manager? Some individuals might be very content in their role and just want to develop a certain set of skills they think will help them become better at their job – it’s not always about climbing the career ladder for everyone. This is why we’re seeing more businesses spending time understanding and nurturing the personal goals of each employee, whatever they are.

What might personalised career development and support look like in the modern workplace?

  • E-learning platforms
  • One-to-one tutoring
  • Upskilling opportunities
  • Funded further education
  • Internal promotional opportunities

We partner with Peritus Learning & Development to deliver valuable online learning solutions to our clients through our advantage solution. Find out more here.

Financial support

Money worries can have a huge impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of your team members, which is why financial support is a popular perk for employees and businesses alike. Discussing financial wellbeing in the workplace is one of the many areas of wellbeing that has spent years being seen as taboo and unprofessional. But now, businesses around the UK are offering a whole range of tools and resources to help their people with their finances – from scam awareness to debt management, gambling addiction and loan advice.

Another factor that’s being taken heavily into consideration when it comes to financial support in the modern workplace is generational differences – and the relevance of different types of financial support to different groups of people. We’re working in a more multi-generational workplace than ever before. On top of that, with prices rising and individuals living healthier lives, people are retiring later and the population of workers is getting older. This means that some workplaces span five generations. As we can see in the financial life cycle diagram below, a young person in their 20s isn’t going to have the same financial needs and interests as somebody in the 40s or 60s – and the financial support available within a business should reflect this. Again, this is why we’re seeing an elective approach to employee benefits and support really evolving.

 Modern financial support includes:

  • Scam/ fraud awareness
  • Debt management service
  • Gambling addiction support
  • Mortgage and loan advice
  • Personalised pension and retirement plans

Overall, the modern workplace appears to be championing personality, flexibility and elective benefits over prescriptive, one-size-fits-all perks. If there’s one thing that employers have learnt following the pandemic, it’s that people want their individual lives and needs to be respected and supported – and to work in a way that allows them to tailor their job to their lives and not the other way around. There’s no doubt the world of employee benefits is evolving, and the shift in power between employers and employees caused by the pandemic has allowed individuals to help accelerate this move to flexible working and diverse and dynamic employee support. 

Read next: How to optimise your benefits package to attract talent


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