Forget unlimited holiday and employee perks galore: Here’s what the workforce really wants for Christmas

Here’s what the workforce really wants for Christmas

Richard Branson’s personal staff may have thought Christmas came early this year when they were offered unlimited annual leave back in September. But as the news unfolded, the workforce considered the notion and many began to see that like many good things, this perk was too good to be true: Fabulous and fun notions of flexible benefits aside, unlimited leave may make for limited job security.

So, back on earth we thought about what most people really want for Christmas, and we decided that what really tops the list for most employees and HR departments are the gifts that keep on giving and making working people’s lives easier the whole year long.

After all, a good workforce experience is essential to business growth, which is top of everyone’s minds as we near the end of 2014.

So, without further ado, hum the tune as we give you our version of the “12 days of Christmas”.

“On the first day of Christmas the company gave to me”…. 

1. A new HRMS and an HR team focused on strategy: This is quite certainly the five golden rings of gifts. Getting the right HR management system will switch HR team’s focus away from unnecessary admin and free them to spend their time as HR professionals to tackle strategic, rather than tactical issues. This will allow them to engage directly with all of your core HR processes and, at long last, HR will finally be helping to grow the business. *A special note: Put an end to ‘Spreadsheet Hell’: If your HR people are still using “the mother of all spreadsheets” to manage all HR numbers and processes, you really need to take pity on them this festive season. Think they don’t exist? They do, and you’ll easily find the people working on them…they’ll be the bah-humbugs applying for jobs elsewhere.

2. One system, not three: Imagine a daily grind of entering, re-keying, updating and maintaining information in your HCM, HRIS, leave tracking and other multiple systems – at this rate, your employee’s spirits are going to be dampened even more than if you give them 12 drummers drumming on a Sunday morning after the office Christmas party. One intuitive system, used across the company, where details are entered once and available as and when needed for a variety of purposes is what your employees really want for Christmas.

3. An increased focus on personal information security: Sticking with your existing anti-virus software and protection programme to protect your employees’ personal details and salary information (despite increasing levels of cyber attacks) may make for a very blue Christmas indeed. Give your employee’s the gift of increased security so that they can rest easy all year long knowing that their privacy is valued and their personal information is as secure as possible.

4. A regular, timely salary: Not knowing whether you’ll get the right pay and benefits at the right time, every time is truly the most unwanted gift of the season. Surely the best gift you can give your employees is the gift of regular, predictable pay, and your account and HR teams will no doubt appreciate payroll system that is integrated into the company HR system.

5. Make salary planning pain free: If you really want to delight your HR teams this Christmas, give salary planning the time and resources it deserves. Salary planning is often fraught with error. However, many issues can be avoided by using the right HR system with the ability to maintain overall control of the entire process.

6. Flexible working and working remotely: Flexible working legislation in the UK now entitles some 20 million people to have the right to request flexible working. So, embrace the season of giving and consider the requirements of your workforce. You’ll quickly find that almost every employee wants the ability to be able to work remotely at some point. So this year, review both your HR systems and your infrastructure to make sure both are easily accessed off-site. With great remote access capability, companies may even find that employees stay more tuned-in over the Christmas period.

7. Set the one-size-fits-all approach free: Worse than that sweater your aunt knitted you, the one-size-fits-all approach to the workforce treats everyone the same, regardless of their generation. Different generations have different values and different attitudes to work and technology, and this raises significant challenges as to how to manage these alternative views and perspectives in order to get the best out of each and every individual. So set the old ways free and consider the different needs of the generations that make up your workforce.

8. Encourage mobile accessibility: 30% of US workers now use three devices or more (Forrester), meaning that companies are also in effect ignoring rapid decision-making and perfect connection to customers, teams, and each other. Despite the work/life issues that this will develop, 24/7 accessibility is a must-have – to power, to the internet, to data, to apps, to people. So make the workplace mobile.

9. Get in the swing with SoMe: The gift that never stops giving. 72% of companies use social networking, blogs, and/or video sharing (McKinsey). Successful companies are adopting social media tools because they need better ways to communicate, interact and engage, rather than just using email or the phone. So get a social media policy in place, and encourage the use of social media for the sharing of ideas across the workplace.

10. Invite your contractors to the party: Don’t leave the contingent workforce off your Christmas list – they are an important part of the team and need to be able to interact with HR systems just as easily as permanent staff. 20% of the Fortune 100 workforce were contractors in 2011, and this is projected to grow to 50% by 2020.

11. A new kind of performance review and goals aligned with the company: The old way of approaching performance reviews involves a once a year approach using antiquated, standalone systems and establishing goals that are not aligned with the company’s values overall goals. Give your employees a break and establish a new, better performance review process – one where input is added to the global HRIS system, and where it is reviewed regularly against the wider company goals so that reviews are not wasted time.

12. The best gift of all for a weary employee: The last thing that any employee wants is a leave/vacation booking procedures that makes it nearly impossible to book time off or manage their allocation. Make sure you have an easy-to-use vacation management dashboard to handle requests for staff and managers alike, and give your team a good rest this holiday season.


Image courtesy PSNH

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