Post-Covid-19 and the era of the empowered employee: part two

In the first blog of this two-part series, we spoke about how the “next normal” that has been shaped by Covid-19 is changing employee expectations around the digital tools and platforms they have access to at work. The accelerated digitization that we’ve seen over the last year or so has presented an opportunity for businesses to modernize their operations and meet the level of technical sophistication that employees – particularly millennials – are now looking for.

But that’s just one part of the evolving employee experience puzzle. Employee benefits also have a key role to play in helping businesses transform the employee experience and stand out in today’s competitive marketplace.

Beyond fringe benefits

Like their digital expectations, employee attitudes towards benefits have also shifted in recent months. Nearly half (46%) say the pandemic has made them reappraise the value of the benefits their employer offers when deciding whether to stay with their current employer or join a new company. A third now want their employer to prioritize health over lifestyle benefits, while 21% want greater access to wellness support.

In terms of the UAE workforce specifically, 80% say physical and mental wellness are more important now than they ever have been. In addition, 66% of UAE-based HR professionals agree that employers are now expected to take more responsibility for employees’ health outside of the workplace. 71% say the pandemic has increased employee expectations around the health and wellness benefits provided by employers.

These findings are supported by our own survey of UAE-based SME employees. 90% admitted that focusing on wellness makes them more productive at work – citing benefits such as reduced healthcare costs, company visits by health and wellness experts, and discounted gym memberships.

This all shows that a paycheck at the end of the month is no longer enough for the modern workforce. Today’s employees want to know what you can do for them, as much as tell you what they can do for you. They want a work life that works for them, not just their employer.

The quality and range of the benefits on offer is therefore a vital differentiator that can’t be ignored. Meeting employee expectations will help businesses thrive by attracting and retaining the best people. Those that fail to do so will put their long-term growth at risk.

The key challenge facing business leaders is understanding what a redefined work life should look like in the post-pandemic era and how they can put themselves in the best position to build employee engagement and loyalty.

The full package

The time has come for businesses to take their benefits package to the next level. Instead of focusing on surface benefits (i.e. working from home), they must go deeper with initiatives that truly make employees feel valued and deliver a world-class work life experience. Over the coming months and years, this will be the difference between the winners and the losers.

How can businesses achieve this goal? Adopt a digital platform that simplifies access to employee benefits which go beyond the workplace. Forward-thinking businesses must look to platforms that offer a range of healthcare, mental health, wellbeing and financial services all in one place. For example:

  • Medical insurance: make it easy for employees to find and book medical appointments, submit claims and manage their policies. This will streamline and simplify processes, as well as significantly reducing stress.
  • Telemedicine: remove the stress of engaging with medical professionals and save employees time by providing access to online doctor services. This will give employees more flexibility when scheduling consultations and enhance the overall experience.

This is just scratching the surface of what is now possible for businesses of all sizes. Providing bespoke insurance, medical and financial services is no longer unattainable for smaller and mid-sized companies. It is now available to everyone through digital platforms.

The tools are out there to help any company cost-efficiently transform its employee benefits package with discounts on insurance policies, mental health support, employee wellness programs and more. And this can be combined with comprehensive work and finance benefits in cloud-based platforms that let employees manage everything in one place – all of which will empower employees and help make them feel more secure.

Ultimately, now is the time for businesses to re-evaluate their benefits package if they want to succeed in the era of the empowered employee. By focusing on building a world-class employee experience, companies will be rewarded with a happier, more productive and loyal workforce. Remember: look after your employees and they’ll look after your business.

Are you ready to transform your employee experience? Click the button below to download our ebook and learn how to take your business to the next level.