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Beyond perks: personalization is key for talent in a post-Covid world

By Ita Waller | HR director



Opinion article

April 1, 2022 | 5 min read

Remote and hybrid working is here to stay – and it’s time that our benefits packages and HR approaches catch up. Ita Waller, HR director at Unlimited, looks into three principles for personalizing your offer to workers: tailored packages, embracing technology and ditching the culture of long hours.

Unlimited consider the rise of flexible working options and how marketers can keep abreast of these trends.

Unlimited considers the rise of flexible working options and how marketers can keep abreast of these trends

Now the dust has (somewhat) settled on remote working and employees are returning to offices in some sort of capacity – two or even five days a week – we’ve entered a new era where patterns of work are being redefined.

The next big question businesses will need to answer – after the obvious ‘what’s next for hybrid working?’ – is: what’s the best engagement strategy for a post-Covid world?

Microsoft recently published a survey of 30,000 people in 31 countries, with 73% of respondents saying they want flexible remote options to stay. At the same time, 67% of the people surveyed said they want more in-person work or collaboration post-pandemic.

How can we resolve that tension? We think it’s simple. Keep reworking your model to make it flexible for your employees. Empowering every employee is key. This means flexing everything to fit their needs. There really are no longer rules as to how people ‘should’ work.

This is the ultimate opportunity to overhaul working practices. A policy or perk that benefits some people and makes them feel included can make others feel like they do not belong or cannot thrive. So how do you do it?

Personalize everything

If we have a new way of working, then everything should follow suit.

Blow old HR ‘perks’ out of the water – for example, some people might not want health insurance or dental, but want more budget to get a better bicycle or go to a fancier gym. Why not let them do what they want with their benefits?

Having ultimate flexibility in all aspects of working life will see businesses thrive because no individual is the same. We exist to do brilliant work for our clients so our people should be empowered as to how they do their work on their terms.

Personalizing everything creates a stronger sense of belonging and is key to addressing misconceptions that exist between in-office and remote working groups.

Invest in technology

There are many benefits to automation, including streamlining menial tasks to save employees’ precious time and energy. Investing in robotic process automation (RPA) automates day-to-day tasks and isn’t about replacement, but rather efficiency. It gives people more time to spend on valuable, meaningful work. The easiest tasks to automate are tasks that follow a clear and logical process with minimal decision-making, such as emailing a standard report to a client or colleague.

Creativity and innovation are still heavily reliant on human skills as they require higher levels of cognition, emotional intelligence and social awareness. RPA is a cost-effective way to automate repetitive tasks that are not creative. By understanding this, we can free humans from the former (the reverse of what happens in many agencies today).

No more long-hours culture

Perhaps not unusual compared to other industries, the world of marketing and advertising can have a culture of long hours and late nights. By focusing on four areas – pricing, resource forecasting, recoverability and utilization – we can set a benchmark for best practice and focus on output for clients, rather than hours spent in the office (or working from home). This way we can deliver best-in-class results and brilliant work for our clients.

Neuroproductivity frameworks show that having fun (and finding the right balance without getting distracted) is the best strategy to ensure there’s some reward in the process of working.

By structuring and flexing working principles, and having fun along the way, the opportunities of what you can achieve as a business are endless.

In many cases, there are now no longer rules as to where people should work. By creating a working environment where everyone can do their best work and be the best versions of themselves, businesses can be truly dynamic and fit how their talents want them to, creating a better and more inclusive culture.

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