Increasing Employee Benefits in a Competitive Market

06 May 2014 Lydia Ritchie, Aon South Africa
Lydia Ritchie of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa.

Lydia Ritchie of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa.

We live in a world where we are faced with severe skills shortages. It is a cut throat industry where the most attractive job opportunity is king and staff retention is the name of the game. An employer’s ability to compete as an innovative HR leader very much hinges on the success of a thorough engagement strategy that is capable of speaking to a diverse workplace.

To stay ahead of the human resources curve is a fine balancing act between an employer’s available budget and the benefits that it is able to provide as a platform to engage with its employees. This is according to Lydia Ritchie of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa.

She believes that a unique insurance offering is an obvious choice. "Employees live, travel and work in a South African environment where 65% of vehicles are not insured and where vehicle accidents are the leading cause of deaths. Up to 70% of motor claims are accident related, while a business vehicle is twice as likely to be involved in an accident. The average cost of repairing a vehicle involved in an accident is R17 000, which is money that most South Africans simply do not have,” says Lydia.

The bottom line is that a satisfied, financially secure member of staff with sound insurance in place is a productive member of staff and that is ultimately what a properly scoped group insurance scheme should deliver.

"That is however easier said than done when you are dealing with a diverse workplace, where one product cannot possibly meet the needs of four generations,” warns Lydia.
Baby boomers (Born in 1946 to 1964) were raised on rebellion and see work as their duty and they will stay with a company as long as they feel they are making a difference
Generation X (Born 1965 to 1980) are dual career parents that also boast a record divorce rate and are looking for opportunities to move both laterally and vertically.
Generation Y (Born 1981 to 1990) has always had the internet and has very high expectations with 1 in 2 generation Y employees generally wanting to work somewhere else.
Generation iY (Born 1991 - 2002) their life is dominated by the iPhone, the iPod, iTunes. They’ve been identified as the Digital Generation, Mosaics, Techies, Millennials and Screenagers and they are heavily biased towards action and interaction.

"It is absolutely crucial to create rewards packages that comprises of voluntary benefits that can be mixed and matched to suit the unique needs of the different generations within the workforce. Engaging with your workforce is not an optional extra anymore but an absolute necessity,” says Lydia.

It all boils down to employee engagement and how well a company is able to effectively communicate an employee’s total remuneration. "It is not simply about how much cash an employee takes home at the end of the month,” says Lydia. "It’s about the benefits that they have access to and the added value that it provides.”

A number of companies are however not very good at communicating the employee benefits that are available to their workforce. "It is a crying shame as it is a very powerful card to play in a company’s efforts to retain and grow its talent pool,” says Lydia.

"A successful employee engagement programme is underscored by an employer’s ability to communicate a clear message that acknowledges the role that employees play in the success of the organisation. One of the ways to do that is to provide employees with benefits that speak to their unique needs,” concludes Lydia.

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