From the industrial era to the dot com bubble, the modern workplace has undergone quite the transformation. Many companies offer on-site gyms, high-end snacks, stand/sit desks, meditation rooms, and even in-office massage services. These are very thoughtful ways to keep employees healthy, fit, and relaxed at work. A decade ago, HR would be able to check the “take care of our people” box, and move on to focus on other priorities.
Today’s “talent war” is won by companies that discover how to impact their employees’ lives outside of the office. Studies are clear that much of the stress in employees’ lives is generated apart from work. 34% of Gen Xers say they’re distracted from work by their financial stress. 37% of Millennials say the same.
Other major sources of stress include family responsibilities, moving to a new home, getting married, the death of a loved one, caring for a sick or aging family member, and emotional problems. One might say employees “bring these to work with them” or focus on employees “taking work stress home with them”.
Regardless, it’s clear that we must begin to focus on the other sixteen hours when employees aren’t at work.
The good news is that many thoughtful people have launched businesses to aid employees in reducing stress and simplifying their lives. A quick Google search reveals financial planning and/or counseling services to relieve financial doubt and worry. Mental health counseling is available online and at reasonable costs. Childcare services have become easy to use, with vetted caregivers, and are available to be used abundantly or sparingly to fit individual needs. The list goes on and on.
Our mission at Fringe is to “connect people to services that simplify their lives. Fringe benefits reduce stress, give time back, impact the family, and spark joy.”
We believe that employers greatly benefit from enabling their employees to choose and utilize services that have a meaningful impact on their lives.
With Millennials rapidly taking over the workforce, it’s clear that “work-life balance” is a thing of the past. Work and “life” are one and the same. Millennials are committed to living life to the fullest, and yes, that includes a purposeful and fulfilling job. The Millennial generation is responsible for creativity and innovation in our world, and therefore highly motivated to work. The thing is, today’s employee wants their employer to recognize that they aren’t ONLY an employee…but also a person with a life, friends, family, struggles, and joys. A meaningful relationship with an employee (and make no mistake, this is the expectation) means caring for the whole person all the time.
We must stop compartmentalizing. Stop believing that our care for our people ends at 5:00pm.
Your employer brand goes home with your people. Your brand falls on the ears of spouses, friends, neighbors, and other would-be employees. The feedback from these people in your employees’ lives impacts their decision to stay, to go, to give it their all, or to skate by with minimal effort.