Employees also preferring non-monetary forms of benefits

It is a known fact that employee engagement and motivation are prime issues of concern for HR. And how they address it? They say that to serve a larger purpose (read: retention) it’s vital to understand that employees these days prefer non-monetary forms of benefits as opposed to monetary ones.

Employee rewards have been an integral part of India Inc and are considered a must for enhancing employee engagement and productivity. However, of late, there has been a drastic change in the employee rewarding system as employees are keen on receiving several intangible benefits from the employer, apart from the usual monetary benefits. Here’s how people managers are re-working on employee benefit schemes to match changing employee expectations.

You think a good compensation package and annual perks satisfy your employee and keeps him / her going? Think again, as experts say monetary benefits alone will not work anymore as today’s employees count on several non-monetary benefits from employers to stay productive at work. Monetary rewards have very short term benefits as opposed to non-monetary ones. Also, it’s seen observed that employees often complain after receiving monetary gains and usually are not satisfied with the benefit given. Therefore, it is better to move from monetary forms of benefits to intangible ones.

A good salary is a significant factor that plays a huge role towards influencing the decision making process of an employee while choosing his/her employer. But according to experts, as the person moves up in his/her career ladder, aspirations regarding benefits from the employer also change. It depends more on the level of career one is in, experience, personal needs etc. The expectations from non-monetary benefits proportionately increase according to the level an employee grows in his /her career.

An entry level employee expects monetary benefits and a supportive work environment; the supervisory staff may expect a competent pay structure wherein they could earn more, have tax provisions and receive timely appreciation from the management to encourage the team to perform; the managerial staff will be looking beyond all this and expect opportunities to shoulder empowered roles including responsibility with authority freedom to choose working hour and basic decision making with respect to their teams etc. Head of HR Data craft India Ltd says that employees at an early stage of their career prefer short term and monetary benefits since settlement in life is their first priority. However, a simple letter of appreciation or pat on the back as well as training nomination or special assignment, which is beneficial for career advancement, excites the younger generation.

Experts say that the benefits that employees look for from employees depend on their personal priorities too. For example, a working mother would look for benefits like work from home, flexi working hours, transportation facilities etc. A few benefits that employees look for which are flexi timings, work out of home, day care center provisions etc., family engagement involving the family in various aspects of the company’s work practices free time to pursue one’s own research / hobby / pet projects, paid sabbaticals to further enhance academic knowledge paid holidays additional leaves for paternity gifts in kind or gifts vouchers etc.

Employees look forward to a good working atmosphere where meritocracy is respected. Various employee engagement activities are practiced, good talent is recognized and opportunities to grow and interact with members of the senior and top management.

Such intangible benefits are advantageous for both the employees and organizations. Experts believe that such intangible benefits help in creating an emotional connect between the employee and organization that could turn beneficial in the long run. Employees seek recognition for the job which they are performing, irrespective of the kind of work.

However, there is a word of auction for employers before implementing non-monetary benefits for their employees. Non-monetary benefits work well under two circumstances: (1) when the employee is well paid and the company is comfortably positioned on the salary benchmarking scale and (2) there is a limited ability to pay and thus a need to be creative. It is only when employees start realizing that their cash flow has reached a plateau and they are also comfortably placed vis-à-vis the market, would he / she start appreciating non-monetary benefits. Thus good employees need both tangible and non-tangible benefits and it is time organizations invest in providing a steady mix of both to their employers to attract and retain the best talent.