Few of us will ever forget 2020, and every element of ‘normal' that we understood was quickly turned on its head. Thankfully, with lockdown measures now easing, we can look forward with more optimism and confidence to what the future may hold. What is certain, however, is that the ‘normal’ that we previously understood no longer exists.
The relationship between employer and employee has also been stress-tested and changed, with employee expectations being very different from 18 months ago.
As we start to support employees back into the workplace, we need to understand what employees are looking for from their employers to allow individuals to rebuild, and have confidence in the future.
Covid-19 has impacted in many different ways, with some employees having to rebuild financial resilience, others dealing with bereavement and poor health, and some having had the confidence of what the future may look like eradicated.
What we have seen and continued to experience with our clients is the expectation from employees that their employers will offer and deliver support and benefits that meet these new expectations.
It’s not just about wellbeing. Having employees aligned to the strategic goals of the company, and going the extra mile, is what drives profitability and allows you to retain a competitive edge. To have that committed workforce will require employers to assess what these new needs are, how they will support employees and, more importantly, how they will engage with them.
Resilience and the ability to adapt to the changes we are all now experiencing will define success. Traditional benefits may not have delivered any value during lockdown and may no longer have the same appeal either for recruitment or retention. For some its where financial safety nets need to be rebuilt. For others its where the rumour mills from the Treasury around pension taxation are creating concern. Where financial confidence is being challenged, some employer-sponsored financial education would help.
What it means for all employers is the need to engage with employees, assess the current concerns, undertake a benefit audit, and rebuild a relevant benefit program that meets employee’s needs.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive process. There are a wide range of cost-effective solutions that can be delivered online.
Finding a new normal will take time.
What is certain is those employers who genuinely invest time and effort, and engage with their employees will build back stronger. Working with a specialist benefit adviser, with the right experience, sector awareness, and a client-centric approach will help you design an offering that differentiates your business and delivers for your employees.
Anne Lawson is an Employee Benefits Consultant at Acumen Employee Benefits. email@example.com