Integrate Work-Life Benefits Into Your Rewards Program
On its face, a rewards program seems to be exclusively about work-based techniques for attracting, motivating, engaging and retaining employees. Compensation, benefits, employee recognition, talent development and performance management may immediately come to mind.
Work-life balance may get overlooked or put on the back burner because it isn't solely job-related. Unlike other rewards, it requires a two-dimensional approach, making it very difficult to tackle.
The perfect balance
Studies show that employees want benefits that enhance their work and personal lives. According to a 2017 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, more than four in 10 employees say they would forgo a wage increase for more work-life benefits. Further, a 2016 survey by Jobvite found that work-life balance ranks among the top five items that job seekers value the most.
The driving force behind the quest for work-life balance can be summed up in one word: harmony. People want harmony in their professional and personal lives because it brings stability to their relationships, careers and finances. But this harmony isn't easily attained — the characteristics of the job or workplace can adversely affect one's home life and the characteristics of one's home life can negatively impact performance at work.
To help employees find this seemingly elusive balance, some employers offer work-life benefits, which can lead to:
- Higher employee productivity.
- Lower employee turnover and recruitment costs.
- Increased employee satisfaction, engagement and commitment.
- Improved employee health and well-being.
- Reduced absenteeism and medical costs.
- Better ability to attract and retain talent.
Choosing the right work-life benefits
Knowing which work-life benefits to provide comes down to understanding the needs of your organization. For example, you'll have to determine employees' needs, whether those needs are being met and what concerns employees have in terms of work-life balance. Meeting with department managers and supervisors and conducting employee focus group sessions are good ways to find out. Also important is weighing your work-life benefits against what your competitors are offering and making adjustments to increase effectiveness.
Another priority is keeping the cost of the program within budget. The main thing to remember here is that while some work-life benefits may require a significant financial investment, others don't come with much of a price tag. Here are some ideas:
- Casual dress.
- Retirement plans.
- Group life insurance.
- Free on-site parking.
- Education assistance.
- Financial counseling services.
- Free fitness classes.
- Paid time off.
- Paid parental leave.
- Free daycare services.
- Free gym memberships.
- Free coffee and/or snacks.
- Team bonding events.
- Free employee outings.
No matter which work-life benefits you choose, the goal should be to help employees harmonize their professional and personal lives.