Glint: how to be smart when rewarding your employees
When employees feel valued, their commitment and enthusiasm grows - increasing staff retention, performance and productivity.
Without a doubt, employee benefits are an unbreakable part of that employee equation, and when they work, they make the workplace experience more engaging. Brands are therefore continually innovating more attractive and exciting job perks – whether it's desk-side massages or dogs allowed in the office. These things matter a lot to certain segments of your hiring pool. According to a report from La Salle Network, Hiring Millennial Talent in 2019, for this key demographic, ‘better benefits’ at target firms are cited as one of the top reasons they would move job.
But of course, no-one wants to work somewhere just because they offer organic breakfasts. Rather, they want to work for organisations that offer tangible benefits – structured help with their finances, for instance, or flexible working arrangements. According to a recent survey from the research firm OnePoll, flexible working hours, bigger pension contributions and extra holiday for long service are amongst the top work perks employees in the UK really care for. Young adults highlight the need for help with housing, while older generations are more concerned with private healthcare, for example.
So while fun office perks might initially attract some employees, what people ultimately find of value is working for organisations with an open, strong and supportive corporate culture that puts employee happiness center stage. When done in this context, a benefits programme will lead to a more flexible, healthy and inclusive working environment for all.
The unique makeup of your firm
For a benefits programme to be successful, the business really needs to communicate why any new perk is being introduced, and how it will help promote employee well-being. It also needs to actively listen to feedback from the team. It is far easier to address any difficulties at the outset of this process to create sustainable and positive change.
Sets of benefits will also vary considerably across different organisations, and for good reason. Remember that each and every organisation is unique, so all efforts should be made to understand and respond to these differences. Soliciting opinions from employees should give you actionable insight into what benefits are most sought after by what particular employees.
Work Glint has done shows that by running surveys regularly, and with all levels of an organisation’s workforce, you can get a quick ‘pulse’ on what is positively engaging your employees in their work, which is the ideal basis for planning and monitoring the success of your HR actions.
In-depth look at fostering a happy workforce
Once your organisation has gathered a pool of preliminary data, you can begin to analyze exactly why certain benefits are attractive to certain employees and demographics, while others don’t. This dataset can be gathered through a combination of both surveys and in-person interviews with teams.
Regardless of the method, there should be two-way communication to gain genuine feedback. Once these insights are gleaned and analysed, you can establish which benefits would best match your organisation’s workforce profile, and establish your unique engagement schema and plans.
It is impossible to take up every issue at once. Analytics can help you pick out a few key areas you can address successfully, based on your culture, values and the survey findings. For a team where health and wellbeing are ranked highly in terms of impact on engagement levels, look at providing gym membership, yoga classes at lunchtime or stress management training, for example.
Benefit programmes are not a case of ‘set and forget’
The implementation of any benefits programme needs to be handled carefully. Once launched, you need to regularly communicate to your staff that these perks have been introduced as a result of their feedback. This demonstrates to your workforce that you are listening to them and taking their concerns and requests on board. It is vital that they know their feedback is being listened to and, more importantly, being acted on.
In addition, benefits programmes are not static and may require tweaking and tailoring, especially when being bedded in. Use the first few months as a pilot period to gather more views to ensure you are hitting the mark, and continue to check in with staff regularly on what your team feels is missing or what could help improve things.
Transparency is paramount
So the verdict’s clear. It’s by investing in understanding your organisation’s engagement profile though systematically surveying and communicating with your employees that you can build truly meaningful benefits programmes.
And when powered by employee feedback, benefits programmes and engagement initiatives can help support a sense of belonging within your workplace – and create what we all want: an environment where all employees thrive and perform at their best.
The Jim Barnett is CEO at employee engagement leader Glint, now part of LinkedIn.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.