Attracting and retaining the best talent has always been a challenge for many organisations. While salary still plays a pivotal role in attracting talent, it doesn’t necessarily keep employees around. In addition to monetary incentives and bonuses, employees are expecting regular, flexible and holistic benefits that add value to their personal and professional lives.
Randstad’s 2020 Employee Brand Research found that regardless of generation, attractive salary and benefits remain as one of the top motivators for employees. However, with COVID-19, many are facing the harsh reality of a salary or bonus cut as employers started implementing cost-cutting measures to stay afloat.
With this in mind, many businesses have hence shifted their focus to motivating employees through non-monetary incentives in an attempt to retain their quality talent. Here are some of them.
top 3 non-monetary rewards in the workplace
With COVID-19, employees are facing a heightened sense of stress having to manage disruptions and maintain productivity at the same time.
This is especially so as more and more companies have publicly announced retrenchment exercises, instilling fear in the current workforce. Being stuck in that position can do more harm than good for the employee’s mental health and sadly, damage their employer brand perception in the long-run.
1. flexible working arrangements
Even before the pandemic, many employers have mandated working from home policies due to the local political unrest. As such, flexible work arrangements have always been observed as a reactive approach that is influenced by external factors rather than a non-monetary benefit for employees.
Moving forward, employers can consider offering flexible working arrangements as an employee benefit. However, for it to work, it is crucial for employers to drive a mindset shift throughout the organisation. With COVID-19, presenteeism is no longer an accurate measure of an employee’s performance. To maintain a high productivity level, employers can consider an well-rounded approach that includes employee feedback, goal attainment and skill growth as measures of an individual’s contribution and overall performance.
Managers should also be more proactive and check on their employees regularly, taking the chance to remind them to take frequent breaks to prevent burnout. This could be in the form of daily morning check-ins to align on their workload and offering support whenever needed.
Employees are attracted to flexible working hours for different reasons. For the younger workers, having the control and capability to plan out their day can leave them feeling more satisfied with both their life and work. For the more experienced professionals, having the flexibility to work from home will give them time to look after their children and their parents or spend time on their hobbies. Flexible arrangements may also be attractive to employees who prefer to work when they feel most productive, which could either be during the day or at night.
To prevent future waves of new COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong SAR, employers should place employees’ health and well-being at the forefront, and be open to offering the option of working from home while the pandemic remains a threat to public health.
2. employees physical and mental wellness programmes
Having undergone mandatory work from home requirements, employees may be experiencing unanticipated mental health consequences due to isolation, stress and burnout. This is especially prevalent for employees who are accustomed to and are more appreciative of the conventional “office life” and social interactions at the typical workplace.
As such, it is vital for HR professionals to focus on improving the physical and mental health of their employees, especially when they are working from home. This can be in the forms of promoting corporate-level engagement activities, such as beginners yoga or other HIIT virtual workouts. Managers can also incorporate check-in calls with their employees once in a while and encourage them to speak of any issues or concerns they may be experiencing.
Additionally, remote working may have caused employees to miss team activities such as having lunch with your colleagues or celebrating a win. Companies can also look into organising team-based activities such as virtual lunches, game nights or weekly friday drinks. By building rapport with employees through such activities, employees will naturally feel more comfortable raising any issues or concerns they may be experiencing.
Employees also recognise the importance of having insurance coverage beyond just basic medical care. They tend to prefer robust corporate insurance packages that cover common non-communicable diseases and basic healthcare needs which include dental and vision. Companies should also motivate their employees to take ownership of their own health to avoid incurring healthcare costs.
3. vacation benefits
Though COVID-19 may have halted travel plans, employees are still looking forward to switching off from work to rest their body and mind. However, employees who are on leave days often feel “guilty” for taking a break and find themselves working even when they are not required to. It’s also much easier to break the “no work” rule when the laptop is just a couple of steps away - under the same roof.
Employers should hence foster a culture of work-life balance in the company to help alleviate some of the stress people tend to deal with while on annual leave. For instance, colleagues should encourage each other not to work while they are on leave. Team delegates should also ensure that they are able to solve problems and deliver work on their own without asking their colleagues who are on leave for help. For those working in smaller offices or who do not have a team, limit the number of work hours when on leave to the minimum.
Employers can also encourage employees to not read their emails or partake in work-related activities while on leave. Employees can also use their leave days to enjoy a staycation in a fancy hotel during this period to avoid burnout and refresh their minds.
When companies work towards providing policies that allow employees to feel safe, respected and valued, the staff will naturally be more inclined to remain in the organisation.
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