Keys to Culture

A new report reveals meaningful work and benefits are core to an engaged workforce

By Matt Straz

When strategic HR leaders aim to solve the biggest priorities for the year—employee engagement, balancing performance with purpose at work, and perfecting total compensation—their solutions tend to fall under one umbrella: New. New snacks, flashy new perks, and even a new ebook with a code of culture for the organization to test. Each of these new gimmicks is meant to score a quick win—with the hopes of taking the company culture to the next level.

Namely’s new report, Where Purpose Meets Performance, Can HR Tech Solve Culture?, conducted by George LaRocque of #HRWins, set out to find the real recipe for a healthy company culture. The outcome? To solve culture, HR needs to go back to basics and create a strong foundation of employee benefits, meaningful employee work, and modern core HR technology. How?

1. When it comes to encouraging engagement, employees want meaningful work most of all.

According to the new survey, when asked what factors most impacted their feelings of engagement at work, 57 percent of respondents chose “having meaningful work” ahead of “being paid competitively” (46 percent) and even “understanding my career path” (24.8 percent). Perhaps most surprisingly, “acknowledgement for good work” ranked lowest with under 1 percent of respondents selecting it. The data shows that today’s employees prefer meaningful work tied to a purpose—even for less money, reports LaRocque. Fifty-three percent of Millennial workers (aged 25 to 34) said they would choose meaningful work with less pay over a higher paying job without it. Surprisingly, the same goes for the majority of workers aged 55 to 64.

2. Forget snacks: Health benefits and paid time off are the top employee perks.

Company perks also drive levels of employee engagement. When asked what employer-provided perk or benefit contributes most to a feeling of engagement, 54 percent of respondents choose health benefits and paid time off, beating out office environment (games, food, furniture) and team outings. Organizations agree: 56 percent believe paid time off produces the most return on investment (ROI), with employee benefits right behind at 52 percent. Employees and companies are seeing eye to eye: A complete benefits package and paid time off policy are crucial to boosting both engagement and ROI—thus making for a better company culture.

3. Companies are looking to invest in better payroll technology ahead of all other areas.

One may assume that new point solutions—pulse survey software or employee engagement applications—would dominate the conversation of investments in HR technology. But according to the findings, organizations reported that payroll is the number one area of planned HR technology investment with 20 percent of survey respondents in agreement, well ahead of employee engagement, pulse surveys, and even performance management.

So what drives this? Core HR is the foundation of creating a meaningful employee experience. Once that’s established, HR leaders can turn their attention to delivering strategic HR, where the challenges include leveraging data and analytics, partnering with finance, and creating a healthy, high-performance work environment.

Looking forward

The survey had some interesting findings around measurement. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said there was no strategy in place for measuring employee engagement with metrics. In the past, engagement measurement alone has failed to do anything more than put a finer point on an already identified problem. But by investing in better benefits, paid time off policies, and core HR technology, organizations are bound to achieve higher employee engagement and a healthy company culture. Add in meaningful work, and HR has all the basics it needs to truly help a company and its employees thrive.

The modern workplace will thrive with these core elements: People, meaningful work, and strong corporate cultures will lead organizations forward and foundational HR technology is illuminating that path.

Matt Straz is the CEO of Namely. Download the full #HRWins report Where Purpose Meets Performance, Can HR Tech Solve Culture? from http://library.namely.com/.

Posted July 27, 2016 in Engaged Workforce

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