Stephen Moir, director of people and policy at Cambridgeshire County Council: As someone who has a remit which includes reward and benefits, I often find myself thinking about how best to manage the ‘offering’ when trying to appeal to a diverse range of professions and people.
Personally, the notion of benefits being applied generically is one that I abhor. Not only is this sloppy thinking, it is potentially wasteful of resources and means that reward communication is poorly targeted and has limited impact. Having recently reviewed some research about what Generation Y employees want, this demonstrated that flexible working is a real benefit that they are very enthusiastic about. However, for those of us who don’t qualify for Generation Y then other benefits, such as pensions, often become much more important. As a provider of such benefits, it then becomes the job of employers to ensure they understand their workforce diversity and try to consider what benefits people may wish for at different points in their employment life cycle. Offering a childcare voucher scheme is great, but how many people actually access this and, equally importantly, how many don’t?
So, the real challenge for reward and benefits professionals becomes the need to understand their ‘customers’ properly and really approach things with a bit more of a sales mentality. Segment your internal markets, talk to your ‘customers’, seek their views on what benefits they most enjoy and [would like].
This type of market segmentation means you can really focus on specific parts of the organisation and generate some results that have a business outcome, as well as improving employee satisfaction with benefits. In the case of my organisation we took just such an approach. Children’s social workers are hard-to-fill roles for us. They are also a national shortfall area, and on that basis we went out and spoke to our existing social workers to identify the things that made a difference to them from a reward and benefits perspective. The result? Reduced turnover and improved recruitment into these key roles. A small scale example admittedly, but one that demonstrates you can tailor your approach and make sure your benefits are targeted in a specific and meaningful way to different parts of your business, as well as to different individuals.
Stephen Moir, director of people and policy at Cambridgeshire County Council