‘There is absolutely more to life than a monthly take home wage.’ Would you agree?

Submitted by Amelia O'Hanlon | 17/05/2022

‘There is absolutely more to life than a monthly take home wage.’ Would you agree? As part of Learning at Work Week, Vertas’ Chief People Officer, Kate Innes, outlines why a holistic approach is needed in business and what Vertas’ management team is doing to ensure staff feel supported.

There is absolutely more to life than a monthly take home wage. After all, a vast majority of us spend a large proportion of our waking hours at work.

The UK’s job market is still suffering from the consequences of Covid-19 and Brexit – a double whammy for employers in terms of retention and attraction. The impacts of these are likely to last for a couple more years yet. We’ve seen some employers offer starting incentive bonuses as the ‘great resignation’ took hold last year. That can be a great short term buzz for the new joiner, but once that’s spent, what is next to retain that person?

The reasons why people join an organisation are evolving. People are looking for employers that resonate with their moral values and meet their health and wellbeing needs. They want to feel they are valued by their employer. Moving forwards, employers have to make some key decisions that shape their culture. The term work/life balance has been reversed since Covid-19 hit – now life/work balance is at the forefront.

At Vertas we understand that people are individuals. We offer varied programmes, because with such a mixed workforce, there’s not a one-size fits all solution. The nice-to-haves on a package are now a necessity, such as wellbeing programmes. We partner with Canada Life, offering our colleagues and their families the fantastic WeCare programme. This has over 12 support services that they can make use of, including virtual GP appointments, counselling, second medical opinions, nutrition and fitness advice, and probate support.

People are much more morally driven, whilst sometimes it’s about a physical benefits package, it can also be about having an organisation with values and business objectives outside of the core business that meet people’s morals. What your employer is giving back to the community and the environment is hugely important. Someone could choose to join an organisation because of its morals, even if the salary is a little bit less.

With COP26 and Net Zero targets, people want to feel that their employer is giving back and being green. It makes an employee feel proud to work for a company that is genuinely invested in protecting our planet for future generations. We have got a fantastic ESG working group who are totally focussed on activities to reduce our company carbon footprint and we are proud to have planted nearly 1,000 trees in East Anglia over the last few months. We have our own environmental business that not only provides us with reusable rice husk cups, but also advises our clients on how to support green initiatives.

At Vertas we also look at lifelong learning – how a person can carve a career pathway is really important. The bonus of being in FM is the plethora of services that we have under our Group. We have fantastic apprenticeship and leadership development programmes. We will be working with local colleges to hold career talks and work experience programmes so that we can tap into the next generation of talent and hopefully open their eyes up to careers in the FM sector. In addition to this we are working on how we can offer our colleagues non-vocational courses, where they can explore a new hobby and develop new skills that support them personally.

Social media is a great way to reach a large audience to shout about your company, the culture and reward and benefits. Which is awesome when it’s targeting the people you want to target. However, people are also able to voice their opinion easily if they are dissatisfied; when a negative comment goes on the feed it can create a negative impact. This is a huge reputational risk if employers are not practicing what they preach! So posts need to be authentic and honest. And negative comments need to be dealt with a response that gives context, while also remaining professional.

The success of an organisation is typically reliant on high performing teams, and individuals will give their best to an employer who they value and enjoy working with. Ignore that at the risk of your future business success. From a business perspective you want that competitive edge, and people are what give you that edge. So if you’re not offering the right total benefits for people to come and join you, then you’re not going to attract the best people to have the most successful business you can.

We’ve got a real hybrid workforce generation situation going on. We’ve got new millennials and a younger generation who expect instant gratification. Just like their music choice – if they want a song, they can download it and get it instantly. And it’s the same in the work place. So if you’re not offering the right level of package for your employees, and you’re losing people or finding it hard to recruit, you need to weigh up the holistic costs of not offering it. Not offering an enhanced package is probably more of a significant cost than purchasing some kind of employee benefits package. Most providers measure and provide some statistics around the uptake and success of the packages they offer, so you can gauge its success.

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