There was a time when you entered the workforce with a very clear view of your career path.
You would join a company, stay there for a goodly number of years accruing perks and promotions, and enter into a social contract with your employer that demanded loyalty and commitment from both sides.
The employee-employer relationship was a paternalistic one in which long service and a willingness to put the company’s interests first were rewarded with promotions, company cars, expense accounts and the corner office.
Things couldn’t be more different in today’s workplace. A difficult economic environment means the long-term prospects with an employer that our parents and grandparents enjoyed are unlikely, and companies don’t want to splash out on lavish rewards and benefits. And the rise of the gig economy, portfolio careers, and a generation of people who put their careers first means that the traditional social contract is effectively over.
So employers are using benefits such as private healthcare and travel pass loans to attract, recruit and retain talent – and to create loyalty and engagement.
But how will loyalty look in tomorrow’s workplace, which promises to be as different to today’s workplace as today’s workplace is to yesterday’s? Organisations will undoubtedly continue to use benefits as a strategic tool, and they will use technology to make them seamless, flexible and personalised.
The major change will be the rise of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation. Over the next decade, people will increasingly work in an environment optimised for technology and hand-in-hand with AI and robots.
Our Human to Hybrid: The Next Workforce Frontier whitepaper explores this shift, and how technology can help organisations to use benefits to engage employees: by delivering a better employee experience.
The key will be creating a targeted, strategic approach to benefits that centres on employee experience.
Our survey of more than 200 benefits and HR professionals, 500 business leaders, and more than 2,000 employees demonstrates benefits’ importance in creating loyalty – both benefits professionals and business leaders say loyalty is a “critical” reason to have a benefits programme.
87% of those business leaders also believe that, to get the most out of a hybrid workforce, organisations need to rethink how they build loyalty among their employees and create processes that allow for more fluid employer-employee relationships.
They will also need to use digital to create a seamless, individualised experience that gives employees a sense of control and quick and easy access to the benefits they want. They will have to anticipate employees’ needs and provide a benefits programme that’s fun to use.
Employees’ demands and expectations will increase over the next decade, and benefits programmes will have to keep up with them if they are to continue to inspire loyalty in people who are ready to move on to a new role if they’re not satisfied with their current one.