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Guest blog: Are you just offering a tick list of old traditional benefits?

This month we have a guest blog from Zoe Puckering, Employee Health & Wellbeing Executive at babylon.

The state of work is changing fast and with millennials predicted to form 50% of the global workforce by 2020, old school benefits just don’t cut it.

At babylon, we want employers to have the tools they need to protect and develop their biggest assets — their employees. We’re here to help you future-proof your benefits by upgrading to the new and improved (and striking out the old and inconvenient!).

Here are some of our top suggestions to help keep your benefits fresh, effective, and irresistible.

1. Wellbeing Apps

Here’s a little (not-so-secret) secret: Millennials think they’re invincible. It’s not easy to get a 25 year-old to see the value of PMI when they’re not likely to incur a serious illness any time soon. If you want to talk health with millennials, it’s best to take the conversation to familiar ground: their phones.

Millennials LOVE technology and spend more than five hours per day on their mobiles. We’re the generation of ordering taxis, pizzas and now, even doctor’s appointments on our phones — it’s not an exaggeration to say the millennial’s homescreen is the most valuable real estate out there. Keep your health benefits relevant with affordable apps like babylon, Headspace, and My Fitness Pal.

2. Flexible Working

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota and the MIT Sloan School of Management, half of all professionals have left a job, or considered leaving one, because it lacked flexibility. It doesn’t cost a thing to offer flexible working options, in fact it could even save you money on office space. Turnover, on the other hand, is VERY expensive. Remote work, work from home, and flex scheduling are some of the easiest ways to boost morale and keep costs down.

3. Friday Fun

The line between work and life is getting more and more blurred by the day. No one wants to feel like they’re clocking into one persona at 9 am and into an entirely different one at 5pm. Employees want a work life that supports and enhances their personal life. Liven it up with drinks, early finish, or table tennis. Or go out on a limb and ask your employees their ideas for how to have fun at work. Breaking for fun increases employee engagement and shows your teams you get it: there’s more to work than work.

4. Coworking Areas

Gone are the days of seating plans. To the modern millennial, nothing’s a bigger turnoff than feeling micromanaged — especially when there are better ways to hold employees accountable. Loosen the reigns and show employees you trust them by creating more opportunities for them to mingle and collaborate. Rejigging your office can cost next to nothing and could be the key to fostering the kind of teamwork that sparks your next big idea.

5. Fitness Classes

Fitness is a great way to combine social and wellness at work. Here at babylon, we’re partial to yoga but any activity, whether it’s 5-a-side football or team-building bowling, can be an awesome way to have fun way while keeping teams happy and healthy.

6. Donut Dates

Don’t worry, we’re not advocating high calorie treats at work. Donut is an awesome part of Slack the internal comms app that randomly pairs employees for a 20-30 minutes date each month. It’s a great way to have a hot drink, snack and chat with someone new and encourage collaboration.

7. Convenience

If you’re aiming to be attractive to the modern worker, you’ll probably have a multitude of flexible and core benefits. If you want millennials to take these up, you’ll need to make them accessible at a click. An internal HR hub is a great way to make it easy for employees to take advantage of your benefit offerings (bonus points if you can make it accessible via mobile devices). There are a number of providers who can set this up for you. Perkbox and Reward Gateway are some great done-for-you alternatives.

8. Communicate Effectively

Drop the boring email announcements and get creative. Make quick, snappy video memos and text messages, or try whatsapp and facebook groups. You won’t reach everyone with just one route so it's best to explore a few and make them fun. For example, a new pension provider might not be the juiciest topic for Friday afternoon reading. Instead, tie the announcement in with a staff lottery so everyone arrives with open ears. In today’s info age, fun + technology = winning. Embrace it and your employees will respond in kind!

9. L&D Days or Allowance

Why hold your team back? Offering either a monetary allowance or time off for learning is a great way to show employees you’re invested in their future, no matter where it takes them. Deloitte offers an unpaid one-month sabbatical that can be taken for any reason, and a three to six-month sabbatical that can be taken to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities with 40% pay. If budget’s an issue try a more affordable option like a book club where the company treats employees to their top-requested books on personal and career development.

As we move into the new era of work, cutting edge companies will let go of the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset and delve beyond the surface level of perks to offer the benefits and incentives employees really want.

Get these dinosaurs off your list and replace them with a more modern option. Your millennial workers will thank you for it.

  • The 9-5 by 2020 most of us will work flexibly, be the early bird and start providing flex work options before the competition passes you by.
  • EAP phone lines a.k.a. inconvenient telephone lines that nobody knows exists
  • Poor Food & Drink - employees can taste the difference! Offer the good stuff or choose one popular thing and do it brilliantly, such as excellent quality coffee.
  • Suited and Booted - these days it doesn’t take a pinstripe banker suit to look professional. Modern business is about results, not appearance. Ditch the strict dress code and focus on performance.
  • Holiday Increase for Long Service - this may seem like a merit-based benefit, but it’s really just a surefire way to build resentment among employees in the new to middle bracket. Be fair and give all staff the same amount of holiday no matter how long they’ve been with the company.

Do it well or don’t do it at all

Each and every benefit you offer sends a clear message to your employees about how much you value them. Offering a poor quality, inaccessible, or outdated benefit sends a clear message that your employees just aren’t worth it.

If you want a profitable future for your company, your benefits must be awesome enough to make your employees excited about dedicating 70% of their week to you.

Need help future-proofing your benefits? Drop me a line at zoe.puckering@babylonhealth.com

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