Is Money the Key to Happiness? Not Anymore!

By | February 20, 2017

Does money truly buy happiness?

Money does not equate to a happier life, according to economists.

However, a number of organizations continue to remain focused on compensation as their sole engagement tool. While salary is certainly an important determining factor for candidates making a career decision, there are additional aspects of the benefits package that must not be overlooked. Remaining laser focused on salary and ignoring other engagement needs can be the difference between a workforce that is both satisfied and productive, and one that is not.

What are these other factors organizations should look at when attempting to engage and retain employees? How can insurance companies ensure they are offering the best benefits package to their employees and potential candidates?

It is important to note that work-life balance is not one-size-fits-all. Life harmony means different things to different people.

Inside Today’s Benefits Package

According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction — across all income levels — is no longer pay. When reviewing organizations and opportunities, modern professionals are now looking at the “hidden paycheck” of culture, leadership and opportunities.

In fact, Glassdoor’s Employment Confidence Survey reported that 89 percent of Millennials prefer benefits and perks to pay raises from their employers. They seek organizations that will provide them with career development opportunities, have an attractive company culture and, most importantly, allow for work-life balance.

In today’s fast-paced and connected work environment, finding that perfect harmony between the office and home life is important. More and more individuals are looking for a way to bring balance into their lives. They want to work differently and have more flexibility. Organizations need to look at ways to incorporate this flexibility into their compensation and benefit offerings.

Building Work-Life Balance

Recognizing the importance of providing work-life balance for their employees, many insurance organizations are implementing flexible work programs. They are looking at strategies that will allow them to meet their employees’ needs while increasing engagement and advancing organizational success. Fortunately, flexible scheduling and other work-life balance initiatives have been proven to reduce turnover and to have a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line.

One of the key ingredients in many work-life plans is flexible scheduling. Whether it is the ability to set one’s own schedule or the option for compressed workweeks, flexible scheduling is becoming increasingly popular. The strategy is to shift the focus toward achieving specific benchmarks and goals and away from the outdated notion of “chaining” employees to a desk to produce outcomes.

This flexible environment has proven to foster productivity and creativity amongst professionals. No longer are employees stressing about balancing their personal life with work responsibilities. Now, these individuals are able to plan their work around their needs. Whether its adjusting start and end times to meet daycare and schooling needs or working four 10-hour days to enjoy an extra day off, this flexibility is invaluable to today’s professionals.

Another popular offering is the ability to telecommute. The work-at-home movement has taken off, with an estimated 30 million professionals in the United States working from home at least once a week — a number that is expected to increase by 63 percent in the next five years. One of the key drivers of this movement is the increased engagement of employees.

While salary is certainly an important determining factor for candidates making a career decision, there are additional aspects of the benefits package that must not be overlooked.

Employees who are given the option to work from home are 73 percent happier with their employers. They enjoy the cost-cutting benefits and flexibility provided by a telecommuting program. Whether it is offsetting costs of daycare and pet sitters or saving time otherwise spent commuting, work-at-home is invaluable to providing personal and professional balance.

It is important to note that work-life balance is not one-size-fits-all. Life harmony means different things to different people. As a result, not all employees are looking for the same options.

Some companies are offering their employees time during the workday to study for exams that will help them attain degrees and credentials. Other organizations are providing the option of work-share for parents looking to spend more time with their children. Regardless of the offering, insurance organizations should consider implementing an a la carte-style program that allows employees to select the benefits that work best for them and their lifestyle needs.

In today’s candidate-driven market — with nearly 60 percent of job seekers having their pick of “two or more” positions — providing a competitive and all-encompassing compensation package may be the key to attracting top talent. With more individuals looking to bring balance to their personal and professional lives, flexibility is a key differentiator.

Today’s forward-thinking insurance organizations must develop and implement their own work-life balance strategies lest they fall behind in the growing war for talent.

About David Coons

Coons is senior vice president of The Jacobson Group, a provider of talent to the insurance industry. Phone: 800-466-1578. Email: dcoons@jacobsononline.com. More from David Coons

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Insurance Journal West February 20, 2017
February 20, 2017
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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