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The Increasing Value of (Inter)personal Benefits
Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP --  The Herman Group Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP -- The Herman Group
Austin, TX
Wednesday, April 27, 2022


The Herman Trend Alert

April 27, 2022

The Increasing Value of (Inter)personal Benefits

Driven by the COVID Pandemic, there has been a definite shift in the employee value proposition. People are valuing their time to be with friends and family and even pets more highly than they did pre-COVID.

Living their Best Life

Employees are now asking themselves, "Is this company helping me live my best life?" If the answer is "No," and the worker has viable alternatives, the company is likely to lose that member of the staff.

It's All About the Experience!

What are people's lives like when they are employed by a particular company? The tech companies understood these values shifts early. Employees of FACEBOOK in Austin have the option to work anywhere and any hours.

A Tale of Two State Executives

Once upon a time when I worked with the State Comptroller's Office of one of the Western states, the two top civil servants, both women, individually shared with me that they never would have stayed with their agency had the office not offered them flextime and flexplace. Although both women worked long hours, those hours were on their schedules---and that still makes a tremendous difference.

One Size Does Not Fit All

So how do you design a winning value proposition for today's employee? The answer is, "It depends." It depends on many things, including the values and attitudes of the employee, where the person is in their lifecycle and where they are in their employee lifecycle as well. Do not make the mistake of thinking that one size fits all, because in today's world of work, it doesn't. The value of specific benefits is assessed by the employee's peer group. As in many areas of marketing and branding, "Perception is everything."

Some Things are More Highly Valued than Others

Today's employees value things that are more personal, especially when they get to pick what they want. It's an evolved version of cafeteria-style benefit programs, e.g., new Google employees get to choose from MacBook Pros, Chromebooks, or Lenovo laptops. Moreover, the new offerings include things like Google's Baby Money, subsidizing IVF, and reduction (or over time, elimination) of student loan debt. And for young families, childcare support is often at the top of their lists.

Red Flags

In 2019, when my Semester at Sea® business students saw the Foosball table in the offices of an IT start-up in Salvador, Brazil, they all decided they wanted to work there. Now, Ping Pong and Foosball tables, along with beer kegs are considered red flag proxies for the expectation of long hours, read "overwork." I the television series, "wecrashed" about the company wework, there is a line in which the executives are talking about the fact that their young employees would work for "free beer and parties." They consistently underpaid their employees and had unrealistic expectations, while providing free beer and a party atmosphere. As the series teaches us, that only works for so long.

Stock Options are Important, But. . .

The new version of stock options starts with Day 1. And employees have become much savvier in this regard. They can now assess for themselves how much value the stock options really have. They know that the true value depends on the value of the stock as well as the length of time they must hold it, including the rules about selling. There are often tradeoffs between the companies trying to protect themselves; in some cases, these protective measures, including regulations about divesting, effectively devalue stock for the employees.

To Participate or Not to Participate

Sometimes seeming benefits, like discounted wellness electronics come with strings attached. The company can then monitor the individual's fitness and lifestyle and a benefit turns into a liability. Charity runs are good things, unless there is a perceived penalty attached for not participating. Employees are often checking out of these so called "benefits" before committing to the company. Employees are interpreting benefits like corporate trips and off-sites in the context of the company culture. If they are aligned with the company's values and purpose, then they're "in." If not, participation will be a much harder sell. Does the request for participation consider people who don't drink or have kids at home or is there the perception that this "benefit" is a disguised additional work obligation?

The New Employee Value Proposition

Beyond the concept of "Total Rewards," this holistic approach to benefits is all about the "Total Experience." If people do not perceive that their lives will actually be better as the result of working with your company, your ability to convince them to work with your company will be a tough one. Forewarned is forearmed.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: Growing Third Teeth

Human beings are typically born with no teeth. As infants, we often struggle as our baby teeth come in. Years later those baby teeth fall out and we get our adult teeth. But what if those adult teeth develop disease and must be removed? People who can afford the high cost of implants have often opted to get them. But now from Warsaw, Poland comes a breakthrough that could change that choice, by giving us the option of growing third teeth. Read all about this new alternative in next week's Alert.


News Media Interview Contact
Name: Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP
Title: Certified Speaking Professional and Management Consultant
Group: The Herman Group
Dateline: Austin, TX United States
Direct Phone: 336-210-3548
Main Phone: 800-227-3566
Cell Phone: 336-210-3548
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