Meet-Up: Employee Wellbeing

The issue of employee wellbeing puts many employers in a tricky position. On the one hand, they need to bring new employees on board and retain existing ones. On the other hand, many of them can no longer keep up with the increasing expectation of benefits in the “war for talents”.

In order to find a suitable position in this dilemma, HR factory invited HR professionals from different companies to a meet-up. In three workshops and a joint discussion round, experiences and views were exchanged on the following subtopics:

  • Benefits & Performance Management
  • Leadership Culture and Different Generations
  • Employee Wellbeing & Employer Branding

We would like to present the most important findings from the resulting exchange here.

1. Benefits & Performance Management

The individual performance of employees also plays a decisive role in the question of the appropriate quality and quantity of benefits – after all, companies should not lose sight of the performance principle, regardless of the offers that apply to all employees.

💡To ensure that the relationship between motivation, performance and reward is not thrown out of balance, companies should therefore ensure that individual performance incentives are also set.

But how exactly should benefits and individual performance incentives be set? Unfortunately, there can be no universal answer to this question, because the specific framework conditions differ from company to company. But:

💡In order to be able to determine concrete indicators for the right selection of performance incentives and benefits, it is worthwhile to consider the factors industry, target group of employees, and corporate culture.

Is it possible to say whether companies should focus more on individual performance incentives or on general benefits?

💡The right balance of individual performance incentives and general benefits depends on many contextual factors. Companies should therefore conduct an in-depth analysis of their specific starting situation.

2. Leadership Culture and Different Generations

Generational differences have always held the potential for lively discussions. The topic of employee wellbeing is no exception and is currently causing this type of debate to flare up particularly strongly.

The question that keeps coming up: Does Generation Z have excessive expectations of their job? So is the benefits problem a generational problem?

The exciting insight from the exchange between the participants:

💡The participants did not see the challenges behind the topic of employee wellbeing primarily as a generational problem. They placed greater emphasis on the labor market situation and changing expectations of the profession across generations.

The participants definitely perceive new expectations of the profession, which are also – but not only – brought in by Generation Z. These are both a challenge and an opportunity:

💡(1) Managers must increasingly act as individual coaches. (2) Dealing with diversity and different employees can also provide a decisive competitive advantage. Last but not least,(3) the meaningfulness of the business model can play a decisive role in recruiting.

In view of rising burnout figures, the question also remains open from a societal and generational perspective as to what role managers should ascribe to the topic of benefits.

💡While benefits can play an important role in attracting new employees, managers should not lose sight of the holistic view of their company. Work must be healthy and the working conditions in a company must reflect this.

3. Employee Wellbeing & Employer Branding

Employee wellbeing – and especially the topic of benefits – plays an important role in the external image of companies. In the battle for employees, companies want to present themselves as attractive employers, but at the same time they cannot keep up indefinitely with an arms race in benefits.

The first question our participants asked was: Is there already a minimum standard of benefits that is expected of employees?

💡Based on the experiences of the participants, a certain quantity and quality of benefits on the part of the employees is assumed – at least as a tendency.

Following this insight, the question arose: Is it possible to specify exactly which benefits are (or should be) considered standard?

💡The perception of benefits can vary greatly. What some employees consider a benefit, others take for granted.

In addition to analyzing the initial situation, the workshop participants also wanted to think about concrete solutions. Therefore, with regard to the efficiency of benefits, they asked themselves how to achieve a higher commitment of employees to benefits. The following thesis was put forward:

💡A financial participation of employees in benefits (e.g. in the form of 25% of the costs) could increase the probability that the benefits are actually used.

4. Conclusion

Some overarching insights can be drawn from the great exchange between the participants:

  • There is no simple answer to the question of the right level of Employee Wellbeing.
  • Employee wellbeing measures can create a competitive advantage, but your own organization must find the right composition for this in terms of trend topics, industry, corporate culture, target group and administrative feasibility.
  • A benefits portfolio should not be static: it must be regularly revised and communicated. This is the only way to prevent it from becoming a matter of course.
  • Wellbeing benefits and traditional performance management tools should not be mixed. Performance must be worthwhile – regardless of the question of employee wellbeing.

HR factory would like to thank all participants again for the great exchange. We are very much looking forward to the next Meet-Up with you!