I like to divide Employee Benefits into two main sections:
The ‘boring ones’
The ‘feel really good’ ones
I am in the ‘feel really good’ business.
I appreciate the necessity of the first category, which includes everything from salary, bonus, pension and insurance.
But from a HR perspective it is not really worth spending time on, as it is the ‘past and present basics’ and as such not a ‘future motivational factor’.
The ‘boring ones’ are easy to administrate and pure ‘need to haves’. They are at the bottom of ‘our Maslow pyramid’ and they are very, very costly.
Accordingly, this is an area where all companies would want to reduce costs.
Maybe this is why I often come across highly educated HR professionals spending time on these basic benefits alone.
But we have to reverse the logic.
The ‘feel really good’ benefits can actually save a lot of the money spent on the basic level of benefits and increase the top and bottom line.
In the ‘feel really good’ business, focus is on the individual recognition, on birthday greetings, gifts and rewards that are tailored for that particular employee, great and real tangible savings, a ‘thank you’ now and then and a ‘good morning – you look great today’.
The great news is, that it can be done at a low cost (many are not even tangible), but it requires online and offline tools that are easy to understand, use and implement.
Most importantly, we need for HR professionals to be allowed to shift focus from ‘the salary department practice’, to the ‘HR practice’ – and to create ‘a feel good culture’.
To create ‘a feel good culture’ is not a monthly campaign – it is an ‘every single day’ campaign.
We want the employee to think ‘real good’ about their employer in their spare time when entering a restaurant, cinema or store because the employer provides them with the benefits of a discount or a reward.
We want employees to feel embraced at work, getting a ‘Thank you’ or a ‘Greeting’.
In essence, what HR should want from their employees is for them to think about the company they work for, in a ‘feel good way’ 24/7.
This suddenly makes ‘feel real good’ benefits, a very big ‘need to have’.
Many companies have implemented ‘feel good’ benefits, but without taking it seriously – and many still don’t have any at all. Very, very few have really successfully implemented it.
If we want to be happier, more productive and more efficient, it is important to have tools that touches, moves and inspires us every single day.
We need to start building cathedrals, instead of cutting stones.
And in order to do that, it is important that the tools are truly implemented – not just as a tool, but also as a culture.
In my view, this is the most important mission of the HR function. The basics should stay in ‘the salary department’.
As Maya Angelou says:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Let’s get employees to ‘feel really good’.
By Susanne Laursen, MD, LogBuy