What employees want

Employee benefits, now a days are being shaped according to what the employee wants rather than what the employer can give.

Compensation and benefit structures have witnessed a noticeable change over the last few years. Employee benefit nowadays, are being shaped according to what the employee wants rather than what the employer can give. Moreover, many companies are offering innovative benefits in order to retain talent.

As per our recent survey results, only about 44% of companies offer Superannuation as compared to over 60% four years ago; 35% offer housing loan as compared to 60%; 27% offer club membership as compared to 54%; 32% offer car Loans as compared o 62%, company accommodation is provided mostly at top management levels. On the other hand, more companies are offering flexible benefit programs and group term life insurance as compared to a few years ago.

Over the course of years, medical and insurance benefits have gone through a change.

Most employers used to offer medi-claim benefits to the employees’ families, but today progressive employers provide benefits to dependent presents also. This is highly valued by employees as medical acre for the aging is a need, especially in younger organizations where the individual himself being young, does not avail this facility himself.

Most employers had some form of accidental death and disability benefits earlier, but today progressive employers provide group term life insurance which covers death / disability by any cause. So what has driven these changes? Primary drivers for changes in the compensation structures have been the changing income tax rules in India, changing employee expectations with demand for cash compensation, introduction of fringe benefit tax and movement to viewing compensation on a total remuneration basis.

The key to designing effective employee benefit programs is to understand the employee requirements and recommend programs aligned to their expectations, market practice and most importantly, the company’s compensation philosophy. Companies use employee surveys to assess satisfaction levels to their benefit programs and determine if any changes are to be made. They also track market practices to see what other companies are doing to design innovative programs.

The typical challenges faced in re-designing benefit programs are more on the implementation side. That is where you need to transition employees from one benefit program to another, explain to them what has impacted them and show the overall value proposition to them. This is where companies need to make significant investment in terms of developing detailed communication strategies to facilitate a smooth transition of employees from old to new benefit programs.

From an organization’s perspective, employee empowerment adds to their productivity. An employee will be motivated by rewards, both monetary and emotional (read: recognition and appreciation) and with the practice of better methods provided in training, it will provide role clarity and helps to channelise the energy in the right direction.

In many organizations which do not empower their staff, employees often feel micro-managed; it is a proven fact that that two out of five employees feel that they don’t have the decision making authority so that they can do their jobs well. This leads to a slow-moving workforce that is minimally productive, lacks self motivation and is unable to take prudent business risks or make innovative changes.

So, if you ever feel disengaged or de-motivated, remember, you have the power to make change happen and influence your own action at the workplace. All you need to do is use it.

Innovation in benefits acts as an important tool in attracting and retaining talent. In fact, many companies are offering innovative benefits to their employees. The flexible benefit plan is one of the most innovative programs offered by companies to their employees wherein the employees have a choice of choosing compensation elements from a pre-defined menu. Apart from this, some companies provider differentiated leave programs depending on the employee’s tenure in the organization or sabbatical programs after competing certain duration within the organization.