One size does not fit all: Meeting the diverse needs of a growing workforce

With National Employee Appreciation Day on the horizon, it’s important for leaders to recognize that companies are witnessing a decline in employee loyalty. In 2023, a workplace study showed that 51% of employed workers were watching for or actively seeking a new job. This means that now more than ever it’s critical to ensure employees are feeling valued and supported. Our goal in HR is not only to attract and retain good talent but ensure employees know that they are our most important asset and provide the resources that create an exceptional employee experience on their Henkel journey. They are the heart of any organization, working every day to create and shape company culture, build relationships with customers and partners, and drive innovation.

As organizations continue to acknowledge the business case for maintaining and developing talent, they are prioritizing employee retention to foster more stable team dynamics, preserve knowledge and reduce the cost of hiring and training replacement talent. As the workforce continues to grow and evolve, a one-size-fits-all approach could be considered impersonal and ineffective, doing little to inspire employee engagement and loyalty. Instead, companies should focus on showing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), enhancing benefits packages, and expanding flexible policies to better accommodate employees’ unique needs. There are many programs that companies can deploy in pursuit of achieving this goal, and each of them contributes to providing the resources employees need to take care of themselves and their families, and come to work prepared to excel in their roles.

The Power of ERGs

The best way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to DEI is through action – from hiring and retaining diverse talent, to creating inclusive polices and establishing a culture where employees feel empowered to share their viewpoints and celebrate their individuality. A tool we use to foster a culture of belonging at Henkel are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). A McKinsey report revealed that 66% of employees believe that ERGs are effective in creating a sense of community within the workplace. As the workforce continues to diversify, there is an increased need to offer spaces for all employees to feel included, and to provide more flexible and inclusive resources for talent.

Empowering People Through Benefits

A great first step in creating inclusive policies that will attract and retain talent is offering a comprehensive benefits package. When employees have resources to maintain their health, handle unexpected emergencies, and prepare for their futures, they feel empowered to bring their best selves to the workplace. If talent isn’t feeling supported, it is likely that they’ll be more inclined to explore opportunities to further their career outside the organization. In fact, a MetLife study found 69% of workers indicated that having a wider array of benefits would increase their loyalty to employers.

The resources and working models offered to employees are key focus areas at Henkel. We strive to meet the unique needs of employees with flexible benefits through our Total Rewards program and organizational emphasis on ‘Smart Work,’ a program that shapes future-ready workplaces by recognizing the benefits of hybrid remote work, employee wellbeing, sustainability, and more. We recently expanded our Total Rewards package to include virtual behavioral health care for children and teens, access to reliable childcare and elder care, confidential personalized mental health care for employees and their families, and more flexible options for new parents.

Evolving To Meet The Unique Needs of Growing Families

Being a parent is one of the most important jobs in the world. In 2022, at least one parent was employed in around 91% of families with at least one child. Parents represent a significant portion of the American workforce, so it’s vital that they have the necessary tools to care for their growing families. In 2023, we extended our parental leave policy at Henkel in North America to offer 12 weeks of fully paid leave to all employees regardless of gender or family structure, demonstrating our firm commitment to equity in parenting and childcare for all parents. The expansion of our parental leave policy ensures that our staff can spend quality time with their families with support from their workplace.

It is important to think beyond days of recognition like National Employee Appreciation Day, and honor it by ensuring employee appreciation is part of the company DNA every day. Organizations that view employee needs as a top priority all year long will be a step ahead, have a strong foundation to work from, and maintain a competitive edge in the employer marketplace.