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For decades, people have been writing about creating a work-life balance, allowing parents to counteract the commitment they have to their employers in the workplace with the wish to spend quality time with their family and loved ones.

Studies indicate that the happier an employee is, the more productive they will be, and the greater the chance of retaining them in their position for longer. In fact, a six-month study of BT call centre workers by the Oxford Said Business School found that happy employees achieved 13 per cent higher sales than their unhappy colleagues, despite working the same number of hours – they simply used their time more productively.

Taking away stress from parents

Findings like this are important to take into account when putting together reward and recognition schemes for employees, particularly if you have parents trying to juggle the demands of children with the demands of their jobs.

When considering a total rewards strategy, the focus, more often than not, is on financial rewards. A bonus and commission structure is, and always will be, an essential part of your overall reward schemes for employees. However, in view of increasing evidence highlighting how a happy employee is a productive one, a total reward strategy could, and indeed should, be an opportunity to address the work-life balance issues that are facing parents.

Greater flexibility in work schedules

Flexibility around fitting work around family life rather than the other way round could be one of the most profound ways you could ease the stress and overwhelm for parents within your employ. While the structure of the day is quite rigidly focused on the nine-to-five, this has never sat with the structure of the school day, which always means a certain amount of juggling childcare issues at certain points during the day.

A more flexible approach to working hours, the ability to work from home, take holiday sabbaticals, or introduce job sharing could all be options to help parents fulfil parental obligations while maintaining their commitment and experience in the workplace. The undeniable fact about children is that they do grow up. The more you work with a parent to accommodate that flexibility as their family grows, the more likely they will maintain their commitment to you long term.

Upping the perks to ease the cost of living

One valuable perk you can offer to your employees as part of your total rewards strategy is a discount benefits scheme that gives you savings on supermarket shopping and other retail outlets, entertainment, gym memberships, and electronic goods.

Many other schemes might offer subsidised private GP and dental appointments, wellbeing support and counselling, occupational health services and subsidised childcare.

As the cost-of-living crisis digs in and thousands of families are affected by rising bills, providing access for them to thousands of potentially discounted brand names could make a significant difference to their day-to-day lives. This could remove the initial stress and impact that increasing energy bills and interest rates might have on their monthly outgoings.

Combining perks with rewards

Crucially, any employee benefit scheme that you introduce should not replace structured reward schemes, but complement them. As employees progress through life while working for your organisation, they become emotionally invested in the success of your company. Their children are raised on the salary that that parent brings in, and this further strengthens the connection with your organisation that could be of benefit to you in the future.

Offering a stock or equity option for long-term employees may give them a sense of ownership and responsibility and, ultimately, the pride that will both affect the bottom line of your company and help incentivise the employee.

Equally, hard cash still speaks volumes. A bonus, or the equivalent in terms of the time in lieu of spending with family, can be a motivating factor for an individual to reach certain goals or milestones.

Ultimately, your organisation is as individual as the individuals that work in it; how you structure your reward strategy will depend on your size, the number of employees, and the nature of your business, as well as the nature of the people who work within it. If you need support in the creation and development of a total rewards strategy that will take into account the specific needs of parents, as well as incorporate incentives and motivation, the contact us to discuss your requirements.

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