---------- Advertorial ----------
The meaning of work is changing with a shift in focus from pay check and stress to wellbeing. One company that is fully engaged in this is Love your Employees. Since it started, the British company has put the wellbeing of company employees on the map. Here, Elliott Smith, Founder and Managing Director tells his story behind the initiative, and talks about the changing landscape in the UK when it comes to the meaning of work.
On the platform of Love your Employees, both employees and employers can get matched with a wide range of professional consultants in areas from leadership and finance to fitness, and they can also learn about the latest developments. Say the people behind it: When employees show that they care about the well-being of their employees, everyone wins.
What kind of changes have you noticed in the UK in terms of the relationship between employers and workers?
We conduct research with a large number of employers each year on employee benefits and a variety of topical subjects. Over the last seven years, we have seen some significant changes. People’s expectations in general, as workers and consumers, have changed. The line between work and home life is now blurred – there is no demarcation.
Workplaces are more diverse; employee well-being has risen to become a top priority; there is more concern for ethics and morals in business; loyalty and employee engagement have declined; and climate, poverty, and worker activism are embedded themes.
Pay levels remain the highest priority for employees, especially given the current circumstances, but how people are treated and how they feel about their employers are extremely important too. The ‘soft stuff’ matters now more than ever.
Some big economic drivers have become hugely prevalent in the world of work too; for example, the rise in caring responsibility with an ageing population, a continued rise in automation, and the increased gap between rich and poor all have a significant impact on the workplace for what was traditionally known as white-collar and blue-collar workers.
One big change we have to see is a shift right at the top of companies in terms of executive pay and the culture of shareholder dividends. This isn’t appropriate at a time when companies have been bailed out to the extent they have over the last couple of years. These kinds of decisions are under scrutiny like never before. There needs to be a shift in attitude about what the purpose of business is. Business is not purely profit generation; things like the impact businesses have on climate and their role in society have become important for us all but especially employees and customers.
“There needs to be a shift in attitude about what the purpose of business is"
We now know, more than ever, that taking into account the well-being of a worker brings not only a host of benefits to the worker, it also does to the company that they are working for?
In general, mental well-being support has become a top priority for employers. We have become aware that a whole well-being package, whatever that may look like – coaching, digital doctor access, counselling – is essential, and we encourage employers to look at their full well-being package and their processes.
Peace-of-mind benefits that provide security for workers, such as critical illness, life insurance, and Private mortgage insurance (PMI), are in demand from employees. These also benefit employers by supporting (and being seen to support) employees at a time of need. There is also an expectation that if employers value staff, they will help workers (and their families) to be healthy, with solutions that bypass long waiting times to get the care that they need. Good health in all its forms is essential at this time, for well-being and productivity.
“Good health in all its forms is essential at this time, for well-being and productivity"
People talk about the Great Resignation, etc, what other, less rigorous ways are evolving?
The Great Resignation and the Great Rethink are both terms we have come to know. Employers have to look for other ways to keep the talent and expertise they have. We see this happening in a variety of ways, such as more flexibility in the way people work, either from home or hybrid working. We have also witnessed some sectors needing to adjust pay levels significantly, as the market match is way out of line.
There is also a demand for more variety of benefits; this may be because the workplace is more diverse than ever before. A real breadth of things, like electric car schemes, dental plans, and quick medical access, are delivered in innovative ways. A one-size-fits-all benefit plan does not exist anymore.
Going forward, is there anything else you feel an employer of the future should know?
One of our clients already had an expensive health plan in place, but found it wasn’t making an impact where it was needed – in addressing absence levels. Our review showed that healthy employees took up the health plan, but those people with high absence problems preferred to take the cash. It showed the importance of good data, of understanding the drivers for absence, and a good understanding of your workforce. No business can afford expensive benefits that don’t add value. This isn’t about selling products; it’s about working together to find company-centred insight and alternatives.
“A one-size-fits-all benefit plan does not exist anymore"