Why you should factor inclusion into your benefits package

Reward offerings should take into account the unique and diverse needs of all an organisation’s employees, argues Nicki Pritchard

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Building a successful employee benefits package is not a straightforward task. An effective benefits package should answer your employees’ unique needs and priorities, but it should also act as a reflection of your company’s broader culture and values. 

The pandemic has sparked a renewed interest in the topic of employee benefits as companies attempt to grasp anew what their employees truly want and value – much of which has rapidly evolved over the past two years.

But it needn’t be so difficult to review and update your offering. Taking a holistic approach to the process means designing a package that aligns with your company’s wider diversity, equality and inclusivity values, and offers your employees true benefits to their working life beyond simply a salary. 

Incorporating DE&I into your company culture

When reviewing employee benefits, a company must first consider what it offers its employees at the broadest level. Beyond a salary, what do employees gain from working in the organisation? Are their individual needs being met? Do they feel included and valued? 

Employee benefits are successful when they answer your workforce’s unique and diverse needs. If you don’t understand those needs, any benefits package you implement risks being misguided, unappealing, or potentially even offensive – not to mention an unnecessary expense.

This is why a robust diversity, equity and inclusivity (DE&I) policy is the fundamental place to start to ensure you understand what your employees need and value, and how those needs can be answered through additional benefits.

Identifying the needs of your employees

Financial incentive has always been the starting point to attract a prospective employee, however workers are now increasingly searching for positions that offer more than just a salary.

We're seeing a lot of weird and wonderful new trends in the world of benefits packages, such as the increasingly popular ‘duvet days’, but designing an employee benefits package must begin by asking what perks or offers will support and enhance your employees’ lives. The answer to this question will be different for every company, as every team has a unique set of demographics.

For example, your senior employees might want benefits to support their financial security, whereas personal development might be more valuable to your younger staff. Employees with young families will have entirely different needs again.

The pandemic has shown some benefits to have immensely broad appeal. For example, flexible and remote working has been transformed into a mainstream perk. It costs nothing for a company to implement, but can be a powerful demonstration that staff are trusted and their responsibilities outside the workplace are valued. Other benefits may be valued by a smaller proportion of your staff – such as a menopause policy that affords women additional leave or support to manage menopausal symptoms – but can be just as compelling.

The power of external support

If you don't have the expertise in-house to develop a comprehensive DE&I policy and apply those values to design an inclusive benefits package for your employees, partnering with an external consultancy can offer invaluable support.

Particularly in the case of larger organisations with multiple departments of staff, there can be a lot of competing factors to consider when it comes to tailoring an inclusive package – or packages – to meet employees’ needs.

It’s also important to note that employee benefits should not be regarded as a one-time job. It’s of little use to set benefits in place and never look at them again. Your company and your employees will continue to evolve over the years, therefore the benefits you offer must also evolve in tandem and importantly they must be sustainable over time.

Regularly reviewing your employee benefits should be seen as a valuable opportunity to reflect on what your company offers its employees, what your staff need and value, and the ways in which your package can be refined to reinforce your company’s wider DE&I values, which are ever-evolving too.

Nicki Pritchard is a managing partner at Anderson Quigley