Panel Welcome | Panel Debate

Chris Ford
Chris Ford
Director, Field Sales
Hawk Incentives

Welcome to HR Grapevine’s 2019/2020 Guide to Rewards & Benefits.

Recognition, rewards and benefits are set to go through enormous changes in 2020. Employees now expect their employers to engage with them in a similar fashion to their favourite brands, whose number one focus (beyond sales and repeat visits) is creating advocacy and loyalty. Imagine what would happen to your business performance if more of your employees recommended your company as a great place to work, and advocated the services you provide to their personal networks as they do with the brands they love?

2020 is the year that employee engagement using recognition, rewards and benefits takes a leaf out of the customer engagement paradigm and enables employers to drive loyalty and advocacy from their employees. Every market indicator now suggests that to win as a business, employers must firstly engage their employees in a relevant personalised and timely manner. The big question is are you ready?

HR Grapevine’s Guide to Rewards & Benefits aims to give employers an opportunity to understand what today’s workforce want and enable them to work out the best way in which they can meet these changing needs and preferences.

 

Panel Debate

Should you take a one-size-fits-all approach to rewards and benefits?

Chris Ford
Chris Ford
Director, Field Sales

With more than fifteen years’ experience in employee and customer engagement, ten of which he has spent with Blackhawk Network Europe and previously Grass Roots, Ford leads the Key Client Development team, a passionate group helping some of the world’s largest brands connect and stay connected to people on a huge scale. In the last decade he has secured the launch of campaigns for many major brands including O2, Barclays, Whitbread, Lloyds, Tesco, BT and EE.
Prior to joining Grass Roots in 2009, he held several senior sales roles focussed on communications platforms and technologies, which drive engagement with people, including IVR, email and SMS. In addition, Ford also holds a degree in Behavioural Economics.

Recognition, rewards and benefits should not be approached as a one-size-fits-all. While many companies still offer a “benefits buffet” – which aims to cater for all employees – it doesn’t think about the needs of an individual. Age and life stages have a great influence on what recognition, rewards and benefits would be relevant for employees.

The good news is that changes to employer’s recognition, rewards and benefits do not need to be time intensive or costly. Employers could introduce flexi time, working from home once a week, or on-the-spot rewards that can be given in recognition of hard work or personal achievements. These types of benefits demonstrate that employers care about and understand the individual needs and life-pressures of their workforce as a market of one.

Generic offerings still work across the board; gym memberships and private healthcare are still appealing and for Hawk Incentives, our Techscheme and Cyclescheme are still very popular, but we have seen a step-change in rewards and benefits having ‘choice’ and being ‘instant’.

As we move into 2020 and beyond, the demand to be treated as an individual by employers will only increase. I urge employers to ask their employees what they want and how they would like to be recognised. Or, perhaps introduce voucher cards that offer choice, such as One4all or Restaurant choice. They can be handed out regularly in recognition of hard work, or even as a Christmas bonus and broadly speaking, these two choice cards cater for all ages and interests as they can be redeemed in so many retailers and restaurants. What’s more, if you keep the value under £50 it falls under HMRC’s trivial benefits tax break which means less cost for the employer and more financial reward for the individual.


Michelle Wren
Michelle Wren
Michelle Wren
HR Director

Having enjoyed a varied career across businesses such as CVS, homes4u and RAC, Wren is now positioned within the finance broker Freedom Finance. Prior to joining the firm, the HR practitioner garnered a graduate certificate in HR management at Salford Business School.

“More and more we’re finding that employees expect a flexible approach to their rewards and benefits.”

At Freedom Finance, we have fostered a diverse workforce and undoubtedly each member of the team has different ideas about what the workplace should be giving back.

While it would be easier from a management perspective to deliver a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, it wouldn’t meet the demands of our current employees, or appeal to new candidates who increasingly expect benefits to be flexible and personal.

Employee benefits are essential for attracting and retaining talent and getting the model right can be rewarding for both employees and employer.

Michelle Wren
Michelle Wren
HR Director

Having enjoyed a varied career across businesses such as CVS, homes4u and RAC, Wren is now positioned within the finance broker Freedom Finance. Prior to joining the firm, the HR practitioner garnered a graduate certificate in HR management at Salford Business School.


Steve Collison
Steve Collinson
HR Director

A seasoned practitioner at Zurich UK, Collinson has spent over four years within the insurance arm of the organisation but has previously resumed roles within the corporate affairs and financial services side of the business. Prior to joining the firm, he attained an accreditation from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.

“From our experience, a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to employee benefits doesn't work as we all have different needs.”

We're much more supportive of building a suite of flexible benefits that employees can opt into and out of as they move through the different stages of their life. This means having a strong variety of benefits that appeal to the widest range of people is key.

It's crucial to avoid assumptions. For example, Millennials will look for a particular suite of benefits. In order to really understand what employees need, we carry out extensive research internally to find out. This has led to our recent implementation of a market-leading benefits platform alongside our family friendly policies.


Zoe Walters
Zoe Walters
Zoe Walters
People Director

Condé Nast International’s People Director is an expert in the HR field. Walters has spent time at Adidas, Diesel and Norwegian Cruise Line where she has held several senior positions in HR before taking on her role at Condé Nast International. She holds a degree in Psychology.

“I think that in our world today everyone can customise and personalise their experience.”

There is no more herding. I do think customisation and having something that matters to the individual is much better than having the one shoe fits all approach.

That’s for a number of reasons: we’re not in one location anymore; because of different cultures, different time zones; different geographies; and views and experiences, people want something that suits them and they’re no longer willing to compromise. They want something that enhances their life, enhances their experience and makes things a lot more convenient.

Zoe Walters
Zoe Walters
People Director

Condé Nast International’s People Director is an expert in the HR field. Walters has spent time at Adidas, Diesel and Norwegian Cruise Line where she has held several senior positions in HR before taking on her role at Condé Nast International. She holds a degree in Psychology.


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