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These are the expectations and benefits most desired by employees in the digital age

These are the expectations and benefits most desired by employees in the digital age

There’s a Portuguese saying that goes “As times change, so do needs.” And if in fact digital transformations are here to stay and involve organizations as a whole, it is natural that the expectations of the parties involved also adapt.

We are currently living in a digital age, in which our dependence on technology is increasingly noticeable. It impacts society as a whole and reaches into various spheres of the way we live and work. Thus, it is not surprising that the “digital and cultural transformation within companies is taking place at a frenetic pace”, as José Ramon Villaverde, our WFM expert in Spain, points out in one of his latest articles for the SISQUAL blog. We cannot fail to point out that, if the digital transformation of organizations was already a growing phenomenon given its impact on organizations, its importance has been sedimented and accelerated, in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital company culture

Company culture has become a differentiator for attracting and retaining top talent. The new generations, called digital natives, are just starting to enter the job market. More than anyone else they expect the company to be able to communicate in an engaging and technologically competent way. Today companies can improve the employee experience digitally and, along with it, employee engagement and productivity. An example of this is employee portals, the subject of José Ramón’s latest article, which take on an interesting preponderance because they function as a two-way mediator of communication between employee and company, as well as allowing for extra interactions without complications. When it comes to benefits, this kind of technology not only lets employees know what they are entitled to, but also helps them feel supported by the company wherever they are. The Global Employee Benefits Watch survey found that 72% of employees who use technology to access their benefits in one place are satisfied with this approach and feel engaged with their company as a result.

Hybrid ways of working

COVID-19 consolidated home-office. Accelerated by the engine of necessity at a time when the situation began to take on more serious dimensions and security measures had to be taken, such as promoting social distancing, companies were forced to shift to remote working practices. However, according to a Robert Half survey, employees have come to view home-office as a way of working rather than a benefit. According to an Adecco Group survey, Resetting Normal: The New Age of Work, the world of work is ready for a new “hybrid” model, with 74% of workers surveyed claiming a mixed model between remote and office work. The idea of spending half the time in the office and a half working remotely also appeals to company managers, with almost 8 in 10 agreeing that companies will benefit from greater flexibility. At this point, several companies have already announced that they will continue to keep remote working as an option for employees who prefer it. Spotify was one of them, having confirmed that it intends to keep this new working format even after the pandemic. As one can read at the company’s website: “Effectiveness can’t be measured by the number of hours people spend in an office – instead, giving people the freedom to choose where they work will boost effectiveness”.

Genuine concern for employees’ mental and physical health

Employee expectations are increasingly focused on the issue of well-being, especially given the rapid and sudden shift to home-office practices. Health-related benefits have always been important, and it is not surprising that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought them to the forefront. Given the potential lack of work-life balance that home-office can entail, employees may be more prone to physical and mental Burnout. Thus, it is not surprising that in the same Adecco survey, the overall concern of employees with the issue of well-being has increased 17% across all demographics. Implementing strategies and actions capable of promoting well-being at work are factors that positively impact the way the employee looks at the company and offering a health plan may be one solution, for example. Carla Rebelo, CEO of Adecco Portugal, also mentions “access to special conditions from partnerships negotiated with pharmacies, gyms and beauty centers” as a strategy to reward employees. Additionally, employees seek quality of life and a balance between personal and professional life, a work-life balance. A study conducted by Sodexo in 7 countries revealed that 89% of leaders of SMEs identified an increase in productivity, effectiveness, recognition, and talent retention after implementing measures to facilitate the management of employees’ personal lives.

Training and skills development plans

The development of new skills proves to be more important for younger generations, which is not at all surprising, as they will be more affected by technological developments and are expected to change jobs more frequently than previous generations. Training plans are gaining importance in employee retention and upskilling strategies as learning new skills and acquiring specific knowledge that employees can instantly apply in their jobs brings significant improvements to the organization and provides employees with a vision of professional growth. The skills sought by the market evolve at an ever-increasing pace, so it is essential to create a workforce plan capable of keeping up with critical skills, achieving competitive advantage, while meeting the needs of professionals increasingly eager for new experiences, learning opportunities, and professional growth. This phenomenon is known as lifelong learning and is basically a strategy for continuous learning in a world always moving.

Aligning expectations in a more digital age than ever before and offering benefits is key to attracting and retaining talent. Listening to employees is essential when deciding which benefits to apply, to whom, and at what time. This is because not all employees value the same type of benefits and, on the other hand, over time, the same employee may change his opinion about what is essential for him. Finding the right mix of benefits to create a positive return on investment is a challenge, but SISQUAL is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our experts and schedule a demonstration.

Written by Cristina Meireles

Cristina Meireles has a special interest in marketing, psychology, HR and Employer Branding. She has found in WFM a way to improve the quality of life and productivity of employees, being a strong ally in motivational campaigns. She has a degree in Languages and Business Relations from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto and is currently attending the masters in digital marketing from ISCAP.