Imagine planning a big-budget party seemingly certain to be a crowd-pleaser — beautiful venue, a wide assortment of premium food and beverage, professional entertainment — only to have few guests attend because information about the event was unclear, the venue was difficult to access and invitees were largely unmotivated. You’d be devastated by the money wasted and the opportunity lost.
If you’re a human resources executive in a company whose workforce seems disconnected and benefit offerings underutilized, you know that feeling. But for you and your organization, the consequences of such disengagement are likely to be far greater than profound disappointment over a failed party.
One of the lessons of the COVID-driven Great Resignation is that employee benefits can be powerful factors in attracting and retaining a talented workforce – though only if the employer offers an attractive organizational culture, explains the value of its offerings and makes those benefits convenient to access. Organizations that fail to do these things risk having their employees follow the lead of the 47.4 million Americans who left their job in 2021.
In a recent article for Fast Company, Joseph Andrew, global chairman of Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, says that it’s incumbent upon employers to hear the message that workers are sending. “The answer to attracting and retaining workers for employers must be a cultural solution, as well as a financial one,” Andrew writes in “The employee-employer disconnect that’s fueling the Great Resignation.”
“Demographic trends are making workers more scarce just as demand for their services is increasing,” he continues. “As workers realize they are more valuable, what workers want and what they value will have a greater influence on the strategic direction of institutions than ever before.”
In addition to fair wages, it’s become abundantly clear that workers want benefits and an organizational culture that syncs with their ideals – whatever those may be.
Learn Best Practices
To help employers ensure that they and their employees are getting the most out of their organization’s benefit offerings and culture, Alera Group is hosting an April 21 webinar, Best Practices to Engage Employees in 2022 (and Beyond). During the one-hour program, members of our Employee Benefits and communications team will present best-practice strategies for engaging with employees and developing a more connected and informed workforce.
Informing employees about the value of their organization’s Total Rewards program and ensuring they’re able to access their benefits is fundamental to an engaged and satisfied workforce. As the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes in the February 2022 article “Changing, Communicating Employee Benefits to Meet New Expectations”:
“Employers should not assume that employees appreciate or even are fully aware of all the benefits available to them. Ongoing communications and assessing both usage and employee sentiment can help ensure that workers understand and value the benefits they’re being offered.”
A second SHRM article stresses the two-way-street aspect of employee communications, with employers not only informing the members of their workforce but also learning from them.
In “Keeping Benefits Competitive Requires Vigilance – and a Strategy,” SHRM checks in on a San Francisco-based financial technology firm with about 600 employees that conducts focus groups and benefits surveys, and also relies on feedback from employee resource groups within the company. “By understanding the workforce at this more granular level, employers can be more confident that they know who their people are, why they joined the company, and why and when they might leave the organization,” it reports.
Making your organization one employees don’t want to leave requires listening to workforce feedback, recognizing that one-size-fits-all solutions don’t exist and adapting to meet the demands of the post-COVID employment marketplace. In fact, the need to adapt may be the foremost lesson to learn from what the New York Times calls “A Two-Year, 50-Million-Person Experiment in Changing How We Work.”
One of the workers profiled in the Times story, a 40-year-old project manager at a Texas food chain, “recently put in two weeks’ notice at her old job. She received an offer to work at a company based in California that will allow her to be fully remote. The fixtures of her nearly two-decade career now seem like relics of a past she can’t imagine reinhabiting: high heels, early mornings, constant slights.”
If your employees see constant slights as features of your organization’s culture and don’t feel sufficiently appreciated, you have a lot of adapting to do.
How Alera Group Can Help
One of the ways Alera Group works with our Employee Benefits clients to adapt to changing circumstances is through Alera Playbook Process — a unique approach to targeting and delivering achievable outcomes for your organization’s Total Rewards program.
Another is our monthly Alera Engage webinar series, including the April 21 presentation on fostering an informed, connected workforce. The program is scheduled for 1-2 p.m. EDT and promises to provide you with insights and strategies for keeping your employees engaged. To register, click on the link below.
About the Author
Lauren Vargas has spent the past six years producing external communications to medium-size and large employers, and crafting internal communications for Alera Group Orange County, with work ranging from client-specific updates and benefit guides to open enrollment communications. Nationally, she is one of 28 Collaborative Way Champions throughout Alera Group, working with offices around the country to facilitate orientation to the company’s collaborative culture. She also is the leader of Alera Group’s Communications Impact Group, the firm’s innovation hub for communications.