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15th Sep, 2022

Olivia Maguire
Olivia Maguire
Job Title
Content Marketing Lead

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What rewards and benefits people expect and want from their employers has changed drastically since the pandemic, the current cost-of-living crisis has also had an impact. Employees are looking to be well rewarded and compensated for their hard work, companies that fail to do this are at risk of losing talented workers to those organisations that do.

Reed strives to keep its co-members (employees) content through a range of policies, including a generous reward scheme. At Reed, we believe there are certain things that can help with overall employee satisfaction, such as a purposeful job, open and honest communication, feeling safe and like you belong, and being well rewarded and recognised for the work you do.

Watch our video for advice from Reed’s Head of Reward & Co-member Experience, Chris Brindley, about best practice in devising a reward scheme:

Q: How important are rewards and benefits when it comes to employee satisfaction, and why? 

A: I think for most people when they're working for an organisation, they will consider their importance to that organisation in terms of how much they get paid and the benefits that they’re offered. Having said that, I certainly think that since the Covid-19 pandemic there's been a huge rise in the basic needs that employees have that will affect their satisfaction at work.

If you think about things like feeling safe, secure, all of those ‘softer’ things that we don't tend to think of as reward and benefits, are really coming back. And one of the most important things for me - that pay will never compensate for - is things such as a good relationship with your manager. People really value those types of things as well.

Q: How do you choose what benefits to offer employees? 

A: In Reed, because we're a family company, our culture, purpose, and values are really, really important to us. So, for me and the rest of the HR team that I work within, we tend to use that as a bit of a guiding light - improving lives through work (our purpose). So, when we’re considering the current benefits package or any new things that we want to offer, we always relate them back to that purpose and our employee value proposition.

We have a number of ways that our ‘co-members’ - that’s what we call our employees - can provide feedback as well. We just launched a new feedback method called Vocalise, alongside our existing company-wide quarterly employee satisfaction survey. And we really do listen and take on board that feedback that people are giving us, and the things that they're saying, when we're considering what rewards and benefits to offer.

Q: What kinds of rewards and benefits do you offer at Reed?

A: We've got what I’d consider your core benefits that everybody gets, and in most organisations, they probably get them as well, such as employee pension contributions. And we offer a bonus with a lot of our roles because they're fee earners, so they’re out there selling services to our clients, to incentivise them through commission schemes.

We try and go above and beyond. Linking back to what I said before around how things have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic, that's also changed for us. One of the things we did, especially to link to our environmental goals as well, was launch a cycle to work scheme so that people don't have to drive to work. We also offer more flexible working and dynamic working arrangements so people can flex their time to suit what they need to do in their lives. You can go to the gym at lunchtime, you can pick up the kids from school, and that type of thing.

Q: How do you make sure rewards and benefits directly contribute to employee satisfaction? 

A: The main way we do that is through surveys, so we have a number of different surveys that go out at different points in the employee life cycle. We tend to think of it as ‘new starters’, and then you're ‘within Reed’, and then you’re ‘exiting Reed’ - and people do move on, that's just a fact of the workplace.

Q: What advice would you give to other businesses that are looking to improve their employee satisfaction levels? 

A: There’s three bits of advice I'd give. The first one is to understand what you're being asked to do. And, I know that might sound silly, but it's really important that you have that clarity of purpose because you can use it as a reference point and a bit of a guide. Whenever you're doing anything, you can relate back to what you're trying to achieve. You can also set out your success factors. So, what does success look like at the beginning and reference that as you’re going through it and at the end.

The second thing would be to consult the experts. If the particular reward or benefit will be launched for a particular population, you have to go to the leaders of that population to ask their opinion, ask them whether what you're suggesting will work and get their buy-in before you can really finalise anything. That's really important, because you might be a reward and benefits expert or HR expert, but you might not be an expert in the job that you're designing the reward scheme for.

And then the third thing would be to take the decision makers on a journey. I tend not to just go with a proposal and expect them to sign it off. That would very rarely happen. They’ll tend to want detail and want to know that your thought process is sound and robust, and they’ll want to see the analysis. So, take them on that journey throughout and make them feel involved - and I think you'll find buy-in at the end, a lot easier.

For more information about how to ensure employees are satisfied at work, download our free guide ‘Employee satisfaction: building a happier workforce’ today.