6 steps for a winning Social policy

I often hear in my work what social policy other companies have. They are better than us, their package includes larger number of perks etc.

At the company I work for we have a 6 months reviews. On these performance reviews we include also time to discuss what social policy changes will help our employees feel better at work and supported outside the work environment.

At the last review), together with the Senior management team we analyzed what our social policy includes and compared with market data, bought from respectful sources in the country.

After reviewing other companies social policy packages and comparing with our we found that on average we had 9 more perks than other companies in the same industry and between 4 and 11 more, compared to companies from other industries.

On the meeting with the senior leadership a question that was raised was: “Would our employees ever have it enough. How can we show them that we offer more than other companies?”

I’ve had a similar question from a company owner whose company is operating in a different industry and has list of 94 different perks in his social policy.

These questions made me think and I realized that the problem we face is not in the numbers, but somewhere else- in the meanings. 

If you want to give enough social perks to your employees, you must focus on what is meaningful for them. But do you have to offer them everything they want or focus on several things?

Well my answer here is NO. As much as I love and try to understand people I don’t t agree that you must be so flexible to ensure each single person in your organization has everything he or she accepts as a valuable social perk. 

But to build a long lasting social policy you have to go through several steps of analysis and define what is really impactful for a large group of your employees.

Bellow you will find my list of steps for delivering best in class social program for employees:

1.  Collect information from various external sources

External sources of information are good point to start, but when analyzing information you can see differences. Don’t take one source for granted. Always doublecheck information (for ex. use paid survey, compare with information from your employees, information from candidates and information from third parties, used to work with the company you are researching)

2. Ask employees 

Conduct internal survey on what  your employees know about your social policy, what are the most preferred social benefits, and what they want to see as a part of the social policy. Place these groups of questions in an anonymous survey, to ensure that people will share honestly  what they think.  

3. Analyze information

Go through the information you have collected very carefully. Analyze every element by using same set of questions, criteria and scales. Include your insights from the company to the analysis and ensure that all information is inside the analysis database.

3. Prepare your three lists

This step is the end of your analysis. Try to get out from this process with  three lists: List 1: Social policy  elements from other companies with  the highest positive impact on employees. List 2: Your company  social policy  elements, defined and ordered by level of importance. List 3: Social policy  elements including impactful elements from other companies and strongest proposals from your company  employees.

4. Discuss possible changes

When finishing your analysis and information organization you have to put in action your ability to influence and negotiate. YES – negotiation has to do a lot with social policy elements. And people you have to influence on how your proposal will change employee’s commitment, engagement and satisfaction are your Senior leadership team. You have to convince them to invest. The level of understanding of the impact of newly proposed elements and/or transformed current elements from the list can form the new look of your company social policy.

Keep in mind: Senior Leaders often understand the benefits in numbers. When preparing for your negotiation prepare with  numbers (for ex. If you present a Kinder garden for employees, do not focus on their happiness, but on how this  will  impact performance and achievements) 

5. Agree on one package for all

Do not try to win at all fronts. Social policy is a mass policy. If you want to include an element include this element for everyone. Convince the Senior leaders that people are the same. If offering a perk only for a particular group of people (women, men, young mothers etc.) you will generate a wave of dissatisfaction in the employees and you will weaken the impact of the element in front of the senior leadership team. When agreeing on social policy with the senior leadership team be sure this agreement is set to improve level  of satisfaction and performance and will be equally  impactful  for the employees and senior leadership  team.

6. Prepare one communication  

A mistake you better avoid is the communication approach. Often people created the social policy give freedom to department and function managers and leaders to present it to the employees the way they think is right.  Do not allow that. Before you do it think on presentation skills of the presenter, message he/she delivers by the way he/she presents, important and unimportant elements from the social policy for the presenter, time he/she invests in learning details about each element of the social policy, his/her readiness to answer questions etc. Having all this in mind structure one presentation for the whole company. Doing that will help you to ensure that there is a good ground for presentation and there are no elements to be forgotten or overlooked by the presenter.

Bonus tip: Offer help for the presentation stage, by including someone from the team created the policy. That will minimize the possibility of wrong interpretation for one or more elements and will ensure the level of understanding you are counting on.      

IN CONCLUSION:

The corporate social policy has turned fate of a huge number of companies in the last decade. Strong analysis, coupled with  a strict activities and expenses plan and a winning presentation can ensure you  high ground in the social  war of today’s companies. A wining social policy must represent not what matters for people from other companies, but what makes the biggest impact for your company  and people.

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