Organizations work very hard to provide consistency. They want customers to have a consistent experience. And I believe they want employees to have a consistent experience as well. That’s one of the reason companies develop benefit packages. They want to offer employees consistency in their workplace.
I realize that organizations can’t give every employee their own unique benefits and perks package. And, I’d suggest that you really don’t want to. Years ago, I worked for an employer and, because the company was small, employees could negotiate their own deals. It was a nightmare for HR. Everyone had something unique about their benefits. It was impossible to remember all the details. So anytime an employee asked a question, it was a major researching exercise, because you had to look up the employee’s special deal.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities for organizations to do a little customization and give employees control over the things they value.
For example, I know lots of companies that give employees the ability to select their own gifts in recognition or wellness programs. It might not sound like a lot but I’ve heard comment from many employees like, “I did INSERT ACTIVITY HERE and earned enough points to buy INSERT ITEM HERE.” Employees conveyed pride in being able to earn and select their own reward.
Other benefits like telework and unlimited vacation give employees flexibility, which allows the individual to make some decisions about value. There are organizations that offer employees time off to volunteer in the community. Again, an opportunity for employees to make decisions about value.
Maybe it’s time for organizations to figure out how to give employees a consistent experience…by giving them choices. The company wins because they can consistently explain the benefit. Employees win because they get to choose the things they value most.3