How COVID-19 changed what employees want – and how to ensure you attract the right people
The best talent expects the best support. But they don’t expect 2019’s version of the best support. As the world has shifted and adapted to a new way of living, expectations around employee benefits have also evolved.
It was once possible to attract talent with a state-of-the-art office space, or with lifestyle benefits that make life a little cheaper, or with a competitive holiday scheme. But people’s priorities are shifting. A sprinkle of perks and fairy dust won’t do it anymore. We now want to feel secure and we want to feel our employer cares.
Here’s the thing. When people are remote, we don’t necessarily see that they’re struggling. Just because someone has landed a job in our rapidly growing company, doesn’t mean all their worries are solved. Likewise, the top people in the talent market aren’t going to be convinced just because our company appears to be in a stable industry. They’re looking for more.
People are looking for help in the aftermath
Things are a lot more insecure than you might think. Although the people you’re trying to attract might not have dealt with furlough or redundancies themselves, this doesn’t mean they’re immune to the problems of the time.
Life is throwing all kinds of curve balls right now. For some, their partners may have been furloughed or be out of work due to a dormant industry. Then there are many who have lost loved ones, which has an impact on both financial security and mental wellbeing.
So even if your company is thriving, the futures of individual employees might be uncertain. Similarly, the talent you’re trying to attract might be tentative right now.
More than ever, people feel unprepared for what’s around the corner.
According to an LCP report, two in five employees don’t feel in control of their financial future. Your industry might even be thriving right now, but that doesn’t do much to affect the overall emotion of the time.
What’s high on the talent agenda?
Health and wellbeing has shot to the top of the list of HR priorities. They’re what helps employees feel secure at an insecure time. It also shows you care about the talent you’re trying to attract. Benefits packages that don’t place the emphasis here can feel a little uncompassionate by comparison.
There are other ways to communicate the same sentiment. You can put a great flexible working scheme in place, or allow emergency leave so parents can deal with childcare issues. Or you can give people easy access to mental health support through an integrated solution like Unmind.
The financial wellbeing factor
COVID-19 is starting to make employers more aware of financial wellbeing. The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) has been more important than ever. While other financial benefits, like wage advances or the refinancing of debt, are becoming more and more common.
All these approaches help to one degree or another, but they don’t quite answer the need. The EAP typically sees very low engagement rates and financial lending services, however welcome, only offer temporary relief (with a cost to the employee), rather than a sense of long lasting security.
This is the gap that we’ve been working to fill at Bippit. We’ve created a system that can both preemptively boost employees’ financial wellbeing and help them when they’re in crisis. Our tech matches each employee to the right financial expert, who they can speak to anytime. We combine this one-to-one support with powerful tools and expert resources to keep engagement high.
During the shifts caused by the pandemic, people were able to turn to our experts for support. So when Sarah’s salary was cut when she was looking to make savings, we were able to help. Likewise, when Eric was no longer going out in the evenings and had some extra cash lying around, he discovered how he could use that money to move towards his goal of getting on the property ladder.
To attract the right people, companies need to tackle the long-view as well as the short relief. The support we offer needs to be personal, but where finances are concerned, also confidential and impartial. People are looking for security right now and they’re looking for those who care. You can be that employer.