It may be proverb attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but healthy and wealthy with a dash of wise is the new business motto
The original quote suggested that early to bed and early to rise would help a person become healthy, wealthy and wise, but today it is the organisation which has to tick these boxes if they want the right talent. Skills are in demand, there is a global shortage of talented people, and many businesses are fighting over only a few people to fill a number of essential roles. So how can the organisation stand out? What can they do to capture the talent, and keep it? We ask the incoming and outgoing Presidents of the South African Reward Association (SARA) to offer their insight and expert advice…
It’s a hard knock life
Nazlie Samodien, South African Rewards Association Exco and incoming President, says: “People are working longer hours and sitting in their office beyond the core times outlined as part of their job. They are often putting in extra time. The business has to ask – how can we provide a healthy work environment and recognise the employee’s contributions?”
The answer is — a creatively structured employee value proposition (EVP) which suits the type of business, the type of employee, the values most upheld by those in the business and, according to Lindiwe Sebesho, SARA outgoing President, “how the organisation wants to differentiate itself to attract, engage and retain its talent.” She points out that the business should structure its total rewards around what it wants to be known for and that it should definitely include the solutions sold to customers. If the business is in money, then it should have a really good financial wellness programme in place, and incentives to match.
Elements such as a healthy work environment, extra value-added facilities, financial and emotional wellness and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes are of inordinate value to employee and business. A lovely statistic that props up this fact is from the Gallup Organisation which found that high engagement equals around 22% higher productivity.
Get well soon
“A lot of companies are focusing on broader wellness programmes like subsidised preschool facilities and concierge services,” adds Samodien. “They have a number for employees to call when they need a plumber or electrician or mechanic, for example, which then gives them people to contact. The employee doesn’t have to waste time hunting for numbers and it makes them feel cared for. The emotional support which companies give to their employees makes a huge difference and contribute significantly to the total value proposition.
Wellness days can be linked to reward programmes like Discovery’s Vitality, which benefits both employee and employer, and offering counselling for trauma or divorce can provide a much-needed work/life balance which supports employee engagement and productivity. Johnson & Johnson recently revealed that its investment into wellness programmes saved them around US$250-million in healthcare costs over the past ten years. Health really does lead to wealth…
Samodian adds: “Don’t forget the value of having a well-developed corporate social responsibility programme, many employees feel proud to be associated with their employer if these are in place.”
These initiatives are not just about the business polishing up its charity badge for PR. They are becoming more of a check box for the younger generation. The infamous millennial is more socially and environmentally aware and wants to work for a company they can be proud of. When CSR, wellness, facilities and finances are added together into an attractive employee package, then the talent sits up and pays attention.
“Pay is important, of course, but if your business creates an environment where employees feel valued and their contributions are recognised, then they will be more loyal and engaged,” concludes Samodien. “When building the reward packages for people, it’s worth trying to be flexible enough to cater for different generations and life stages as it will be then relevant to everyone. And a well-crafted package will go a long way to building the business brand.”