December is almost here and it is a time for reflection, a time when we look back at the events of the past year, but also forward to what we can expect next year.
Although no one would have probably predicted the chaos of 2020 and 2021, we can see several key topics stemming out if it that will have a lasting impact on the nature of work in the different organizations and the attitudes of the people within them. More and more responsible companies are reviewing the additional benefits for their employees and moving to flexibility in this direction as well. They turn the additional packages into a personal wallet for work incentives, which each member of the team can spend as they see fit. This is one of the newest trends in people management.
We invited Maria Angelova, People and Culture Manager at Manpower Bulgaria, to comment on the topic “Flexi benefits”.
Why flexible benefits?
In addition to financial incentives, more and more companies are offering their teams more flexibility in the additional benefits and incentive models. Why is it better for the benefits to be “flexible”?
Examples of standard and common benefits are: food vouchers; health insurance; additional pension insurance; coverage of transport costs; money for clothes; sports cards; vouchers for childbirth, first day of school, wedding; goods produced by the company and others.
However, we also find examples of non-standard additional benefits, such as massage vouchers; Kinder garden; part-time babysitter; children's camps, housework assistance; beach or mountain vacations; subscriptions for Spotify, iTunes, Netflix, HBO, Storytel, for newspapers; season tickets for sporting events; psychotherapy; personal finance courses or foreign language courses; online courses, access to platforms for online conferences and events; selection of charitable initiatives; Spark vouchers; food delivery at their home office; beauty and cosmetics care.
Each one of the above mentioned is intended to make the lives of the company's employees better.
That sounds great, but it is not easy. How this process can be organized in the company?
First of all, by consulting people - a short survey could save a lot of financial resources, and at the same time increase employee satisfaction. Then with quality analysis and gathering enough providers for different types of services for people of different ages, gender, marital status, with diverse interests and needs.
Careful budget preparation and administration time are also important - increased administration time is actually the only downside to the flexi benefits programs, compared to offering standard, fixed benefits. HR professionals can make their jobs a bit easier by choosing an appropriate administration platform that can save a lot of time and effort and also be useful and easy to use for the employees.
The we need to take into account the ways to correctly report and analyse this - e.g. in the system the benefits have a fixed price per employee. But sometimes gyms close and sports cards are deactivated, then they open, and compensations start again. But cards are now offered at a lower price, because they couldn’t be used for the whole duration of the month. All this cannot be automatically reflected in the system, because it is one-time occurence, but it must be accounted for properly in order to be detected with the invoice.
Finally, it is important to re-evaluate the program after a certain period of time, for example every 6 months. It is necessary to follow the employees’ satisfaction in order to understand how to improve the program - financially or as a performance.
It is important for any self-respecting organization to be people-oriented and to put their experience at the center of their efforts so that they receive high commitment and satisfaction from them (these usually come hand in hand)
What are the benefits and is it worth it for HR people to engage in organizing a flexi benefits program?
Definitely yes, and here I will look at some of the best reasons to offer employees flexible benefits:
Work plays an important role in our happiness and well-being and can provide us with meaning, purpose and social connection. However, our lives and interests outside of work are just as important to our happiness and well-being. Offering flexible benefits is a great way to demonstrate our support for the health of the people in our organizations and emphasize on the importance of having a work-life balance.