Authored by Jack Curzon, Head of Scheme Design, Thomsons Online Benefits
Company culture should be a priority in your business and benefits strategy, but do you know what it actually means to your company? It is defined as the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular society or people. A company’s culture fits into the same remit.
As well as defining and creating your culture, you need to offer the employee benefits which reflect it. Market leaders are moving away from offering the standard finance, protection, health and lifestyle benefits and looking to create the whole package.
If you want to break away from the traditional benefits mould and offer your employees benefits which truly reflect who you are as a business, think about your company mission statement, your employee value proposition or even your annual Christmas party. These are all great examples of how the culture of your company is embodied. Essentially, your company culture is a reflection of how you wish to express it.
The culture of your company can be summarised in four key areas:
Take a step back and set out a clear, defined strategy. Think about what your culture is, and how each employee plays into this and how they are impacted. For example, if your strategy is to ensure all employees understand and are aligned to your company culture, offer development and training to make this happen.
If you have set out cultural values, ensure you create the right environment for your employees to adhere to these values and to thrive. This could include the look and feel of the office, hide away pods for employees to meet in or take a short break from work, free fruit in the kitchen or even allowing employees to bring their dogs into work!
What do your employees get out of following the culture and values? The benefits you offer need to reflect your employees’ needs, not those of the employer.
There are many tangible benefits that you can offer, categorised into protection, health, lifestyle or financial. These can range from life assurance to a healthcare plan or a pension, however this just creates a ‘not applicable to me’ mentality. In fact, our latest research found that 64% of employees think their employer invests in expensive benefits that they neither want nor use.
While it is important to recognise that employees need a pension scheme or a health plan if an employee gets sick, there are more to benefits than just the legislative ones you need to comply with. Equally, giving an employee hundreds of different benefits to select from gives too much choice and often leads to indecisiveness.
Instead, recognise that work-life balance is about dropping children off in the morning and coming into work later, or having a reimbursement account to spend a set amount on a health-based benefit such as the gym or physio. All these ‘extras’ help employees feel recognised and form an emotional connection to the essence of their culture, all often at a minimal cost to the employer.
To ensure employees know about their company culture, put everything in one place on your integrated benefits management platform. Don’t leave this information behind on a paper-based contract, stored away in a cupboard, gathering dust, which the employee hasn’t looked at since they joined the company (commonly known as ‘forgotten benefits’). It should be displayed on a personalised, flexible digital platform that your employees can access at any time, from any location.
Now that you know the four areas of your culture, it’s time to see how you can fit your company’s strategy, values, employee benefits and communication into a tangible plan of action. If you want to understand more about this, and looking at your employee value proposition, check out our recent podcast on How to uncover your forgotten benefits. Break the mould and revive your company culture!