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Increasing Employee Lifetime Value with Patty Kim, VP of People at Vestwell

Gone are the days when company perks like ping-pong tables and nap pods entice the best talent. 

Now, companies must balance how to compete for top talent while retaining employees without all the fancy perks. 

Employees want ways to grow and have a work-life balance, so organizations must prioritize learning opportunities and manage employee benefits and well-being as ways to attract talent and keep existing team members.   

Patty Kim, VP of People at Vestwell, joined the LEARN Podcast to share her take on the  state of employee benefits and where it should be heading to support employee well-being and performance. 

Empower managers to make tough decisions

People managers often face the enviable task of making difficult personnel decisions. While they may not relish this responsibility, giving managers the resources to help them make these tough decisions is crucial for business success. 

Managers must have the support and autonomy to make difficult decisions impacting performance and company culture. 

Top performers can disengage if an organization tolerates low performance and negative behavior. Comapnies send employees a positive message by addressing these issues quickly and decisively.

“Empower managers to make really tough people decisions,” Patty says. “The number one thing that top performers will be disengaged by is low performance. There’s a code of conduct there’s a way that we treat each other, but do not enable your managers to tolerate bad behavior and performance. Have the conversation quickly and move on because it sends the right message to the rest of your employees, but it also sends the message to any employee that you’re exiting and that you want to support them through their next transition.”

Read more: Don’t Make These 9 Mistakes When Giving Employee Feedback

Focus on holistic employee well-being

Today’s employees want to feel like a more significant part of the organization and work for employers who prioritize their work-life balance. 

Organizations must strive to build programs that support every stage of an employee’s life, including their mental health and overall well-being.

“So I think where benefits need to go is being more well-rounded, and you have to focus on a few elements of benefits. mental health has been a really big issue at the forefront,” Patty says. “I would say reproductive benefits. And of course, I would be remiss without mentioning financial well-being since we know that 70 percent of Americans really only have some type of savings or are able to build wealth through those types of programs; it’s an incumbent upon us as employers to really support those programs for our employees.

“And so, I’ve worked with a number of benefits brokers throughout my career, and you have to find the one that is not only going to have your best interests at heart but also be very dialed into your employee’s sentiments, what they need, what they’re looking for, the human element is really important.”

Employee benefits can be expensive, so companies must analyze cost per head and identify potential life events that require benefits coverage. By forecasting growth and evaluating these components, employers can determine their buying power and make informed decisions about their benefits program. 

Read more: How to Prioritize Mental Health in the Workplace

Invest in employees’ development

Offering the right benefits and promoting well-being and mental health will help you keep top talent, but organizations need to go a step further to create a high-performance culture. This starts with employers setting performance expectations and KPIs and investing in ongoing employee development and continuous learning. 

“I think it’s absolutely a responsibility of HR to uplevel the minimum level of expectation, and it’s our responsibility to get managers and employees to buy into it and recognize its value,” Patty says. “In a world where it’s difficult to find and keep talent, we know that to optimize employee lifetime value, you have to invest in their development and have very little tolerance for those who just don’t.

“My company objectives are gross margins and revenue, so how am I going to get there? It’s through skill achievement. As someone in my role where I can impact that; I think it’s really the responsibility of HR to make sure that we’re up-leveling that all the time, tracking it, and making sure that managers are enabled to do so.”

HR can uplevel the entire organization

With the right amount of support, HR and People teams can uplevel the entire business’s performance through holistic benefits and employee engagement and development. Learning is a growth engine, and the right benefits and initiatives help the entire company grow.

Watch the full episode to hear more from Patty. And subscribe to the LEARN Podcast on Spotify, Apple, and Google to get more expert tips from top leaders in SaaS. 

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