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The Tangible Tools Employers Can Use Today

We offer a number of ways employers can address the most common changes in the working landscape to draw candidates and encourage staff retention. 

Employers can take action today

There are tangible ways to address the most common shifts in this evolved landscape, many of which we have discussed.

From our extensive research as well as 17 years of global studies into employee benefits and what employees and employers want, we have established some steps employers can take in order to bridge the communications gap between them and their employees.

To attract, engage, and retain employees, employers must prioritise and focus on what will effectively help them create the most trusted, caring culture and thriving workforce.

After all, unemployment is low and employees have many options — and they are less likely to stay with an employer that does not meet their needs.

Employers must create programs, experiences, and benefits.

Chapter Four: The Tangible Tools Employers Can Use Today

… to truly understand what motivates employees

  • Learn more about employees by adding questions to employee surveys that can provide deeper insights into the attitudes, motivators, goals, concerns, and values of employees — both in and out of work — going beyond typical demographic information

  • Prioritise investment in programs that will be most impactful for different groups of employees

  • Personalise communications to be meaningful for various employee groups in order to drive greater program awareness, usage, and, ultimately, impact

What motivates employees

… to build a trusting, caring culture

  • Regularly communicate to employees about issues affecting the company, as well as the greater culture

  • Provide exposure to senior leadership through small group discussions, town hall (or “all hands” events, and roadshow visits to different offices

  • Solicit continuous employee feedback on workplace perspectives, and most importantly, ensure that feedback is meaningfully acted upon in a visible way

  • Look for ways to continuously recognise employee achievements outside of annual performance reviews — consider implementing things like peer-to-peer recognition program, allowing colleagues to acknowledge each other with points that can be redeemed for prizes

  • Ensure employees understand how their role contributes to the organisation’s mission, so they fully understand how they help achieve success

  • Support employee-led identity or affinity groups, where employees can engage with others with similar backgrounds or interests — and encourage people who are interested in learning more about certain identity groups to join, in order to weave an appreciation for diversity into the fabric of the organisation

A trusting caring culture

… to implement employee-centric policies

  • Offer policies around flexibility that are accessible to employees across all life-stages — adaptable work schedules, additional paid leave to take care of family, and permission to work remotelyare among the most requested

  • Offer clear rules around workplace flexibility programs from the top down, and hold managers accountable for implementing them consistently across the organisation; this can help alleviate employee stress around leveraging the organisation’s flexibility offering

  • Offer benefits and integrate policies that support employees’ lives outside of work — emerging benefits such as additional paid time off, programs that reward healthy behavior, professional development, and flexibility are among those employees say they want most

  • Help managers better understand what to do during an employee’s short- or long-term leave of absence — provide guidance around who is now responsible for that employee’s work, how the extra workload will be managed by coworkers, and how that employee is going to reintegrate once they are back

Employee-centric policies, MetLife.

… to encourage personal and professional development

  • Foster a culture of continuous learning, looking for ways to integrate training into everyday experiences, so employees don’t think that such programs are distracting them from accomplishing their daily tasks

  • Encourage peer-to-peer mentoring within the business, across disciplines so that employees can learn from each other and learn about the business as a whole.

  • Encourage self-directed learning outside the workplace, through resources like podcasts or documentaries

  • Leverage the variety of established and start-up companies that provide unique technology-enabled workforce education platforms to keep employees’ knowledge and skills up to date in an personalised, agile, and easy way

  • Position managers as role models, and encourage them to transparently and actively share the steps they personally are taking to advance their professional development

  • Create trainings that develop employees’ soft skills, such as creativity, leadership, or communication — skills AI can’t yet replace

  • Offer timely promotions with clear criteria and timing to help employees know where they are on their trajectory, and give them career coaches who can help guide them (similar to programs in place to help many CEOs)

  • Offer professional development opportunities that are not based on promotion — such as work rotations or stretch and step-up assignments (where, under the right guidance, employees take on responsibilities typically reserved for more senior employees)

Personal and professional development

… to create a holistic benefit program

  • Offer a wide range of benefits, both employer- and employee-paid, so employees have the ability to build packages that are personalised to their individual needs and that can be changed as their needs evolve

  • Complement traditional benefits with employee assistance and well-being programs, which support an array of work-life challenges — such as mental health counselling, on-siteyoga classes, health checks, life coaching, and nutrition health consultations — partnering with third-party vendors when necessary

  • Offer a variety of experiences and tools to help employees better understand their benefits — such as videos, guided learning experiences and real-life stories about employees’ experiences using their benefits

  • Use financial wellness programs, leveraging tools and resources that are shown to drive real impact — such as personalised advice, one-on-one guidance, and goal-orientated short- and long-term planning

  • Enhance retirement savings programs — offering ways to generate income as well as strategies to help them manage their savings so that they don’t outlive them

Holistic employee benefit program

… to better communicate benefits

  • Engage employees as if they were customers: alter the way benefits are communicated instead of focusing on individual products, help employees understand how benefits work together to add value to their lives.

  • Using a combination of the channels employees find most effective; the top three most preferred channels are a confirmation of benefits issued by the employer, one-on-one consultation with an employer, and an employee benefits handbook.

  • Look to communicate the value of benefits throughout the year.

Better communicate benefits

The blended work-life world is here to stay

Employers who support employees as individuals in and out of the workplace will thrive in this evolving environment.


A final word...

It starts with understanding where employees are today and their drive to find purpose — however big or small.

Once employers understand that employees simply want to have meaningful experiences inside and outside of the workplace, they can begin to shape work experiences to keep their workforce engaged.

From structured work flexibility to increased training, employers have several levers to pull when it comes to enabling a better atmosphere for employees.  

Yet, perhaps the biggest tool at their disposal is delivering a compelling mix of holistic benefits.

Benefits can be reframed as a significant part of compensation, working with employees’ salary to contribute meaningful to their quality of life.

Offering the right mix of benefits — whether traditional or emerging — gives employees the sense of empowerment they seek, helping them manage their finances, care for their well-being, and plan for the future.

Communicated in the right way, benefits can go a long way towards helping employees and employers thrive in today’s workplace.

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Employee Benefits Trends Study 2019: Thriving in the New Work-Life World has been prepared by MetLife Insurance Limited, ABN 75 004 274 882 AFSL 238 096 (MetLife) and should not be published or reproduced without the prior permission of MetLife. Whilst care has been taken in preparing this material, MetLife does not warrant or represent that the information, opinions or conclusions contained in this document (“information”) are accurate. The information provided in the report and on this website is general information only, current as at the time of production. 

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