Help your employees save time… and benefit in kind
Time is money, yet it is also a source of stress when you’re stuck in traffic! On average, people around the world spend close to 40 minutes on their daily commute to work (and the same on the way home). That adds up to 300 hours a year, the equivalent of more than 10% of the time actually spent at work. An effective company policy on travel and transport can therefore make a real difference when it comes to employee engagement and productivity. The first thing to think about is a way of covering all or part of their commute costs. Employees really appreciate such benefits, which can have a huge impact on their monthly budget. These measures can go hand in hand with other solutions, like promoting greener mobility (walking, cycling, etc.) by covering the cost of bike share services, for example. You can also simplify the reimbursement of expenses by using systems like the Sodexo Xpenditure app. You, your frontline employees, and your managers will all save time! Last but not least, new advances in technology now make it much easier to work from home. This kind of solution is definitely worth considering: 89% of small-business leaders who introduced programs to provide a better work-life balance (especially through home working, flexible working hours and concierge services) saw an increase in employee productivity and efficiency. 
Give your employees’ budget a boost… without sacrificing your own
Financial security is a growing challenge for employees. People under financial strain spend an average of 13 hours a month dealing with their problems in the workplace. However, employers can introduce specific measures to reverse the trend and provide a real catalyst for engagement: 54% of Millennials in the US and 50% of employees in India  say they would change employer for this kind of support! Other solutions can really ease the strain on your employees’ finances: restaurant vouchers, Christmas gift vouchers and childcare vouchers are just a few examples. Collective or individual, regular or performance-based, these benefits get the thumbs up across the board (discount vouchers, gift vouchers and bonuses boost employee productivity in 91% of cases).  Another way to ease your employees’ money worries is to give them the support and information needed to help them manage their budget effectively. Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services gives companies the tools needed to help employees manage their money and encourages them to save, with interest of 5%. This mirrors a real need, given that 47% of employees in the US and up to 92% of employees in Chile lack the financial know-how needed to manage their money effectively.
Help your employees take care of their health… and your business’ health will be improved too.
Healthcare costs are a worry for employees around the world, especially in countries that do not have attractive healthcare systems. For 20% of US employees, healthcare costs are a major source of stress, while 84% of Brazilians say good health insurance is the number-one benefit an employer can offer —which makes an effective health plan a key factor in boosting employee engagement. Financial issues aside, health and well-being are clearly essential for performance. In addition to good health insurance, targeted well-being programs can be extremely effective incentives: nutritional coaching, help with quitting smoking, and fitness and well-being programs are all good ways to encourage your employees to make the right dietary choices and live a healthier lifestyle.
Listen to your employees… and hone a more effective engagement strategy
A global survey shows that 40% of employees believe the benefits and rewards they receive are not enough to support their needs.  Yet before you introduce a benefits and rewards scheme in your company, it is important to first set out a clear strategy to properly support incentives and ensure they are put in place properly. In this respect, using the data available inside and outside the company (on the efficiency of the transport system, availability and cost of local services and childcare, etc.) is crucial to objectively assess needs and choose the most suitable solutions. You can begin by conducting a survey of your employees and build on internal data to tailor your strategy to the company’s organizational priorities. These initial assessments will help you ensure the benefits and rewards you offer mirror expectations. You can then review feedback using resources like the Inspirus platform, which lets you easily manage deployment and access to different benefits, and gather user data that will help you fine-tune your program over time.
Give employees more opportunities… to help the company grow
Financial benefits and services are not the only way to boost engagement. Personal development and career growth are just as important as salary or one-off rewards, and in some cases rank higher, especially among Generations Y and Z. In one survey, 54% of Millennials said career development opportunities were the most important criterion in choosing an employer, ahead of salary (44%).  Conventional training programs may be complicated and costly to set up, yet there are more flexible alternatives that are just as effective. Examples include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and mentoring programs, which have proven their effectiveness and are a lot easier to implement. Knowledge sharing through your own specialists is another valuable source of improvement: 90% of Millennials say Boomers bring substantial experience and knowledge to the workplace.  And don’t forget one-on-one coaching, which is often very effective and a lot more rewarding for employees than group training sessions that do not exactly fit their expectations and needs.
 How to Tackle U.S. Employees’ Stagnating Engagement – Gallup – 2013 http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/162953/tackle-employees-stagnating-engagement.aspx
 Quality of Life: a BIG asset for small business leaders — SODEXO benefits and rewards services – 2016 survey
 Mercer survey, 2017, https://www.mercer.com/content/dam/mercer/attachments/global/Retirement/glb-2017-davos-individual-savings-perspective.pdf
 Willis Towers Watson survey, 2016
 Quality of Life: a BIG asset for small business leaders – Sodexo BRS – 2015
 Survey by Justine S. Madrian, William L. Skimmyhorn, 2012
 Thomsons survey, 2017, https://www.thomsons.com/success/the-widening-gap-between-expectations-and-reality-thank-you/
 PWC survey, 2017, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/managing-tomorrows-people/future-of-work/assets/reshaping-the-workplace.pdf
 Hartford survey, 2014, http://www.thehartford.com/sites/thehartford/files/millennials-leadership.pdf