When creating people solutions, big-ticket benefits and niche services come at a cost and warrant financial investment for the positive business and employee wellbeing impacts. Nevertheless, most organisations will have budget constraints, and endless expenditure is not feasible. However, that’s not where people strategy and employee value proposition (EVP) needs to end.
Leverage embedded services
Whether an organisation is at the start of the benefit journey or has an established offering, benefits will likely have embedded, value-added, or additional services available.
Core protection schemes, including group life, income protection and critical illness, are increasingly reinforced with physical, mental, and financial-oriented support. These can range from employee assistance programmes (EAPs), medical opinion and concierge services, wellbeing applications (with tools, resources, and improvement programmes) – to health checks and virtual physicians.
Private healthcare-based schemes will often include services, from expert helplines, eldercare support, to wellbeing apps focusing on physical improvement, fitness, sleep, and nutrition. Virtual medical services are also commonplace; however, it is important to understand if these are factored into premium, therefore the best delivery vehicle. Preventative and insight tools such as online health risk, in-person assessments and DNA analysis can be included or available at competitive rates. Member discounts are often present, from gym access to wearable technology, providing financial value and positive behaviour nudges. A private healthcare scheme can increasingly be a cost-appropriate conduit for fertility, gender-health and neurodiversity solutions.
Organisation-wide analysis can also help uncover benefits and services that may be ‘hidden’ in separate business functions, ensuring an aligned approach, reduced duplication, and clear employee communication. The breadth of the services and eligibility can differ from stand-alone provisions, so vital to ensure the offering fulfils the need - but understanding and utilising these services can minimise duplication and support the workforce at minimal additional cost.
Make investment meaningful
A budget constraint can in fact have the positive effect of concentrating expenditure in areas with the most impact and, promoting a strategic approach to address crucial workplace issues.
If financial wellbeing is a key objective, financial security is often achieved through funded benefits with notable costs. Yet, this can also be bolstered through strong career development, training, recognition programmes and focused incentives.
Financial capability can also be addressed at lesser expense. Flexible pay policies may resolve financial stresses without associated cost. Financial education can be effective across a multi-generational workforce along with money management tools. To alleviate the current cost-of-living issues, discount and reward portals can be cost-effective methods to reduce employee expenditure.
A stricter focus on needs and outcomes allows an organisation to invest in solutions that genuinely improve areas that require intervention - and move away from inertia or topical reactions.
Use culture-shaping initiatives
Removing cost from the equation often means removing product, serving as a catalyst for approaches, policies and ways to align organisational goals with benefit strategy. Many of these will address social, cultural and workplace wellbeing - and dovetail with environmental, social and governance (ESG) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) goals.
In point, child, elder and other dependent care can undoubtedly be addressed through backup support services, vouchers and nursery networks, care helplines, and digital resources. However, issues may be mitigated and improved simply through clear flexible leave and working arrangements. Embedding a culture of openness, understanding and flexibility with employee lives – can also support issues such as bereavement, mental, physical and gender-specific health, at no cost.
The use of organisational approaches is particularly relevant in the space of mental health. The purchase of digital tools, personal resilience resources and benefits that ‘treat’ mental health are designed to support an issue when it occurs or lessen the reaction. However, an organisation can focus on primary interventions by addressing the root causes, risk factors, workforce and role demands. Introducing support from leadership, rigorous and continued line-manager training, ongoing coaching, normalisation culture, team resilience programmes and more, are less direct cost-intensive measures and drive longer-term success.
Creating synergy between corporate and employee values can be particularly effective in maximising EVP. This is currently exemplified by the environmental and social issues paradigm. Charitable giving arrangements, carbon offsetting schemes, electric vehicle leasing, volunteering initiatives, internal and external networks, and focused community spaces – can all align the employee base and potential hires to the company's culture, at minimal cost.
Market your offering
It is essential to acknowledge employee benefits have minimal value unless employees know what is available - but it is more than just knowing. Employees must understand them, how to use them and where to find key information.
Furthermore, understanding the workforce is vital. Large-scale surveying, specialised and localised exercises, and ongoing communication programmes can all be used in conjunction with objective data to understand how best to focus investment for maximum impact. Technology can assist with achieving these goals and making clear what employee total reward truly consists of. As a result, an effective communication strategy can breathe life into existing benefits and maximise the engagement and value of new policies and propositions.
People are the backbone of a business and supporting them is pivotal to success. Although employee benefits are often associated with costs, it is essential to consider what is available free of charge, strategic approaches, and areas most worthy of investment, to truly maximise the EVP.
Lockton People Solutions help businesses of all sizes define their benefits strategy and design their programmes to reflect their business needs. For more details on our products and services, please visit our Lockton People Solutions page (opens a new window). If you’d like to speak with us about your benefits and people strategy, get in touch:
Darryl Curtis – Marketplace Manager
T: +44 (0)20 7933 1103