Recent events — from inflation to the end of Roe v. Wade — have not been easy on workers or their employers, leaving HR to ask: What can be done to help?
To address those needs, one company decided to cut its executives’ annual income to “run leaner” and accommodate raises and a swath of new benefits for employees.
SimPRO announced July 20 its “Do the Right Thing” benefits program rolling out to employees in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. The program includes a four-day workweek; 24 weeks’ paid parental leave for primary caregivers and 8 weeks’ leave for secondary caregivers worldwide; a $5,000 grant to U.S. employees “who must travel more than 100 miles for any medical procedure, including abortion, for themselves or their immediate family” managed by a third-party for privacy reasons; and a no-cost financial wellness program.
The package is headlined by a 10% “inflationary pay increase” for all employees who make less than $80,000 a year.
To pay for the program, sacrifices were required, SimPRO’s Chief People Officer Rod Lacey told HR Dive in an email. The company “cut from every executive’s annual income” to make the program possible. “But, we are convinced that our investment back into employees will improve engagement, drive us to overachieve for the rest of the year, and will quickly pay for itself,” he said.
The changes SimPRO made to its business may reflect a cultural shift as legal and economic tensions challenge employee well-being.
Employees are struggling with mental wellness as the stressors of past two years add up, experts previously told HR Dive. While mental health benefits remain a post-pandemic priority, one Society for Human Resource Management survey showed, employees seek mental health support in ways beyond healthcare. Those supports include flexible work hours, a workplace culture that respects time off, the ability to work remotely and a four-day workweek, according to an American Psychological Association report.
To figure out what employees needed, SimPRO focused hard on listening, Lacey said. As inflation rose, leaders fielded questions from employees that revealed intervention was required, leading to raises. And regarding the four-day workweek, the company began with a six-month pilot program, after which it measured employee health, engagement and productivity.
“Employees let us know they were feeling better than ever before, and at the same time, we saw that we weren’t losing any headway on our business objectives,” Lacey said.
Various research has indicated that employees who don’t feel heard by their companies will leave. A Perceptyx report published in April, for example, found that employers that act on employee feedback are 11 times more likely to have high retention, compared to employers that do not.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the scope of the new parental benefit offering. This article has been updated.