How New and Improved Work Perks Can Help Employees Reset in 2021

January 26, 2021 11:54 am Published by

With more employees working remotely — and offices, gyms and bars stand eerily empty in some cities — it’s time for employers to re-evaluate the world of workplace perks they can offer. That means embracing employee financial wellness, work-life balance and professional recognition. Great work perks are a crucial tool for boosting employee retention, recruitment and performance. A coffee machine or free massage in the lunch hour might not cut it in 2021. Here’s what employees are looking for in the new workplace.

Employee Discounts and Rewards

Millennials now make up more than 50% of the workforce, and the paycheck at the end of the month is just one of many priorities wrapped up with work. Along with good pay, employers can attract and retain millennial employees through an engaged office culture that presents a superior work-life balance. Offering discounts and rewards that focus on new experiences will resonate well with employees, whether through corporate memberships to social and sports clubs or discounted subscriptions to personal and professional development resources.  

Affordable Healthcare

In one recent study by Harvard Business Review, 88% of employees picked out affordable health, dental and vision insurance as their top perk at work. That poses a challenge for employers, perhaps, given that healthcare is the most expensive perk to provide. Yet the cost can be factored against worker absences through sickness, with the average employee missing 4.4 working days a year through illnesses of all kinds. Arguably, the pandemic has thrown a more intense spotlight on the issue of health and well-being. Employees are looking for more than just a safe workplace; they want a working culture that contributes positively to their long-term health. 

Employee Recognition Programs

Formal programs to encourage employee recognition are more than a short-term boost for performance. They deliver tangible ROI for the employer through improved retention. Yet in one study by Workhuman, one in five employees revealed that they had never received formal recognition for their work. And during this time of disruption, that desire to be valued, thanked and recognized is even stronger. For companies looking to extend their employee wellness programs in 2021, social platforms that allow team-members or management to reward staff — even through a “shout out” or virtual “high five” can make a huge difference. 

Virtual Well-Being Program

With the remarkable shift towards remote working in 2020, employers can unlock the benefits of employee wellness programs that embrace new working styles. In most cases, existing perks can pivot to remote-friendly versions. Instead of gym memberships or free office snacks, for example, employers can provide online classes and coaching, snack box deliveries and stipends that staff can put towards their own hobbies and activities. Remote working may have removed grueling commutes and office politics from the day, but now employers have to face the challenge of isolation and flagging motivation among their staff.

Financial Wellness

As ironic as it may seem, one of the biggest concerns of many workers in full-time employment is financial stability. More than a third of employees have less than $1,000 in savings. Pay raises or bonuses alone will not resolve the shortfall if employees do not have the sound financial habits necessary to build wealth. Employers who make financial health clinics, coaching or online savings and budgeting tools available to their employees will see the benefits. The anxiety and stress that financial worries cause lead to poor productivity and increased absences. By sharing part of the burden for financial well-being, employers can play an active role in boosting their employees’ performance and job satisfaction. 

Flexible Working

As LinkedIn reports, some 50% of employees would consider taking a new job if it offered more flexibility. Given that video conferencing, cloud computing and remote working are set to feature strongly in coming years, employers should treat time away from the office as a major work perk. In fact, encouraging employees to strike a more harmonious work-life balance, or allowing extended leave for parenting or personal growth can translate into increased productivity and loyalty. Flexible working doesn’t have to mean working less. In many cases, it means working smarter. 

To find out more about supporting your employees’ financial wellness, discover the suite of tools and services from ScoreMaster that give workers greater control over their finances. 

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This post was written by David B. Coulter

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