- Flexible schedules appear to be more important to employees than the ability to work from home, according to the latest State of the Workplace survey from digital payroll solutions firm Deluxe. One in five employees at small- to mid-size businesses said flexible scheduling that allows them to adjust their work hours is the No. 1 action their employer should take to improve their working environment. Paid time off still wins out as the most valued benefit.
- Lack of mental health benefits emerged as a “missed opportunity,” Deluxe noted. Mid-size companies are most likely to offer such benefits: 36% of companies with 51-100 employees and 36% of those with 21-50 employees provide them, compared to only 21% of companies with 1-20 employees.
- An employee’s stage in life affects which benefits they say they want to retain, the survey also found. Younger employees want family-friendly benefits; older workers appreciate retirement/401K and healthcare.
For small- and mid-size businesses, the Great Resignation may be waning. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of employees said it’s somewhat or very unlikely they will leave their current job in the next year, although of all the age groups surveyed, 18- to 24-year-olds were most likely to say they probably will consider a job change.
Particularly with younger employees, companies and their HR teams have work to do to strengthen engagement, which can significantly improve retention, Deluxe said. One noticeable issue is the disconnect between what benefits employees believe are being offered and which benefits a business actually provides. For example, while 43% of employees said their company offers flexible scheduling, 63% of employers said they provide it.
Because benefits are important to measuring employee satisfaction, discussions about them should begin within the first days of onboarding and continue throughout an employee’s tenure, Deluxe noted. The digital solutions provider suggested that employers consider a “self-service” benefits administration process that allows employees to enroll in and manage their benefits online, such as by tracking accrued benefits and facilitating requests for time off.
However, the demand for flexible scheduling places a two-fold burden on HR teams, HR Dive’s 2022 Identity of HR survey found. It means HR must determine the right balance between in-person and off-site time, according to the survey’s respondents. One approach is to view the office as a resource or tool that enables organizations to get work done, experts recently told HR Dive. Another consideration is how employees connect with each other. In developing hybrid arrangements, HR teams should be thoughtful of how they craft these experiences to maintain advantages and avoid the disadvantages, a senior people analytics director said.
HR teams must also help managers who are new to their roles or who have not previously worked with remote or hybrid employees balance flexibility and culture. A chief diversity officer told HR Dive his organization emphasizes that managers communicate and be transparent with their direct reports at every opportunity.