Added Value

Today is Valentine’s Day.

The origins of the day vary, but it is believed that Valentine’s Day dates back to Pagen times with the holiday of Lupercalia celebrating fertility. In 3rd century AD Emperor Claudius II executed 2 men, both named Valentine on different Lupercalia holidays. They were martyred and honoured by the Catholic Church with the creation and celebration of St Valentine’s Day.

So, what has a Pagen festival turned Catholic celebration got to do with the workplace?

In modern times, Valentine’s day is what my husband calls a Hallmark Holiday – an excuse for people to make money! The cost of roses, valentines cards, gifts and meals is estimated to have added up to £855m in 2020.

So why am I, as your trusted HR advisor sharing my knowledge of Valentine’s day with you?

We have been running a 7 days of love series – to those of you who have been opening the emails or reading the blogs, THANK YOU!

For those of you who haven’t, that’s ok I won’t take it personally – but your staff might. And the truth is, you will only find out how personally your staff take your lack of interest in their wellbeing, engagement and business needs when they resign! At which point, it is too late.

It is expensive to recruit and train new staff, so you need to show those that you have that you care. We have known for a long time that, where people have a choice about who they work for, it is more than just the salary packet which helps them to take the decision.

Employees are looking for an employer of choice.

They want employers who care about them. Who value them as individuals for the contribution which they make to the business. They want employers who ask “What can I do to help” and really listen to the answers they get.

While employers need their staff to be engaged, to be dedicated to the business, the values, the goals and objectives of the organisation, these need to be earnt. They are not bought with a monthly pay cheque!

This series of blogs and emails has focussed on things that at employer could do to show their staff that they care.

In case you have missed any of the suggestions, they can be found here:

  1. Growth
  2. Sugar
  3. Self-care
  4. Seeds
  5. Fit
  6. Medical

But I said it was 7 days of love, so what it today’s gift?

Today is all about the Added Value. The stuff which you as an employer can offer, provide or do to continue to show your staff that you care. What am I talking about? Here are just a few examples:
  • Employee Assistance Programme – this is a facility which is paid for by the employer either as a stand-alone service or perhaps as part of medical insurance or voluntary benefits. It is usually a helpline which staff and their family can use to access advice on work, medical or financial issues. Some go further with a concierge type service which employees can access as they need it. It is often free at the point of use, or a set number of sessions may be free ie. 3 counselling sessions or 1 babysitter service, but the offer is then usually available at a discounted price.
  • Voluntary Benefits – these are now often run on a platform such as Perkbox where employees are given the opportunity to sign up and then to access the benefits they want. The membership is paid for by the company, but the services are paid for by the employee. They wouldn’t get access to these benefits if the employer didn’t give them access to the platform.
  • Vouchers – There are all sorts of voucher schemes which can be set up from shopping vouchers to gift vouchers. The vouchers are often purchased at a discounted rate and if the scheme is set up properly, can be tax beneficial for the employer and employee with the purchase of vouchers coming out of gross salary.
  • Cycle to Work – There are a number of schemes available and some of the large cycle retainers now work with employers to give access to affordable bikes and accessories.
  • Extra Holidays – Some employers allow their staff to purchase extra holidays. There will be a cost per day and a maximum number of days set.
  • Employee Surveys – from engagement surveys to mental health surveys, you could survey your staff daily if you had the time to do so. The challenge is getting honest feedback from staff and doing something meaningful with the data. The more the staff can see you taking the feedback on board, the more likely they are to provide useful feedback which will drive your business forward.

The key to offering benefits to staff is to find out what they really want. You may think they want freshly squeezed orange juice, hot croissant and coffee each morning for free, but in fact they want to be able to work 9 – 5:30, take a lunchbreak and not feel guilty going to the toilet.

You need your staff to be engaged. You need your staff to be your best cheer leaders, your advocates and to have your back at all times. A pay cheque won’t buy that, but you as a leader can earn it. Show your team some love not only on Valentine’s day, but everyday.

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