Employee Benefits: The Key to Success in the Post-Pandemic?

Providing meaningful employee benefits will be critical when differentiating yourself from competitors, but what should they look like?

Concerns surrounding Covid-19 and its potential endemic status have eased in the latter half of 2021, and accordingly, many organizations have started to shift tack. If 2020 was a year of reaction, 2021 and beyond will be defined by adaptation, particularly where the hybrid work model is concerned. For the modern Chief Human Resources Officer in particular, this represents a unique, but novel challenge. One that could be eased via an effective employee benefits program.

Covid-19 was responsible for the most substantial social crisis since the financial crash of 2007 & 2008, forcing around 25 million Americans to seek some form of unemployment relief before the end of 2020. To put this in context, more people had filed for benefits in this period than during the single worst week of the credit crunch. Fortunately, the issue has eased during 2021, such that in October, the US unemployment rate fell to 4.6%.

Though this is heartening – as it represents the lowest the unemployment figures have been since the onset of the pandemic – the result highlights the importance of not reverting to pre-pandemic business standards. To this end, it is up to CHRO’s to both recognize and cater to the needs of their staff by developing a more enriching company culture and providing employee benefits which reward and value them.

Boosting Employee Benefits

Employees hold health and other benefits as a top priority in their decision to stay at their jobs, and HR professionals recognize this with 85% stating that they use benefits as a strategic tool to positively impact recruitment and retention. As such, providing value-adding rewards schemes to employees has become increasingly important, aiding in retention and recruitment in equal measure.

Providing effective reward schemes is a powerful way of incentivizing your workforce and lets employees know that even though they are currently working from a distance, their efforts are still appreciated. It’s worth getting on board with an effective scheme now as according to a study run by Glassdoor, 81% of employees said they’d work harder for a more appreciative boss, compared to only 38% of employees stating that they’d work harder just because their boss demanded them to.

Meaningful employee benefits will boost employee morale, reinforce your workplace culture, help your business to become more productive, boost retention rates and finally help to increase and develop teamwork potential across the organization.

Financial Rewards

Ultimately, we are driven by financial incentive and to that end, bonuses and variable pay options might be the way to go for your business. Cash rewards can encourage productivity in business, providing a baseline of expectation between the employee and employer. However, in others it could divide a company more than it brings it together, increasing competition between employees and raising the resentment towards those that give out the rewards. Ultimately, any financial reward scheme should be measured up against the culture you already have in place.

Non-Cash Rewards

These can be anything from a team day away to a team event and generally speaking there is proof in business that many teams prefer these incentives. According to a study undertaken by the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement at the Northwestern University of Illinois, non-cash rewards tended to be more effective as they help to reinforce organizational values and cultures.


Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective. Recognition is a powerful tool in any workplace and when an employee knows that what they’re doing has impact and has a tangible effect on the business, they’re more likely to be happy in their role. For example, 83% of employees say that they are happy to be recognized for their work with praise as opposed to a present.

Workplace Employee Benefits

According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay rise. Particularly when we talk about the hybridized model of work, the benefits that you provide to legacy and prospective employees will help differentiate your workplace, most notably when it comes to things like physical and mental health – with over 92% of employers saying that mental health has become an increased focus area since the impact of Covid-19.

Read our more extensive HR Spotlight report here: “12 CHROs on the HR Trends Driving Change in 2021.”

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