Employee engagement matters to business success across a range of metrics – but how much varies based on the type of organisation in question, as well as its locale, industry and employee base.

Last week, we looked at desk-based organisations and what each performance level looks like within. However, frontline organisations fundamentally differ in the way that benefits affect engagement levels, compared to desk-based organisations. Employee engagement is a less important driver of business outcomes for employers in this grouping; as a result, some of these organisations can be expected to place less of a premium on employee motivation.

For this study, we divided organisations into ‘frontline’ and 'desk-based’ environments. From there, we categorised them based on the interplay between employee engagement and business results – Low Performers, Appeasers, Drivers and Leaders.

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Categories

Benefits packages should be diverse, but tailored to existing and desired future workforces.A. Low Performers

These organisations represent a small minority of respondents who reported low business performance and low employee engagement, regardless of the benefit and engagement package offered. It’s likely that this segment represents businesses facing significant challenges unrelated to employee engagement.

B. Drivers

These organisations seemingly put less focus on benefits and engagement than other organisations, offering fewer benefits on average than other segments. Consequently, they tend to report lower scores across most employee engagement metrics, with turnover rates higher than most other groups, customer and employee NPS lower than other groups and growth rates that generally fall between leaders and appeasers.

C. Appeasers

These organisations offer fantastic benefits packages, but lack a cohesive strategy. They enjoy good employee engagement scores, but low customer NPS scores. They have lower turnover than drivers, but also have the lowest reported growth rates on average.

D. Leaders

These organisations succeed in achieving positive outcomes for both their employees and their business through a well-planned benefits package. These businesses have the lowest turnover rate, the lowest time-to-hire and the highest customer NPS of all, as well as the highest growth rate.

Becoming a Leader requires a different approach for Drivers compared to Appeasers, and the kind of strategy that works for one will not necessarily work for the other. So, how can organisations use their benefits packages to improve outcomes?

How frontline organisations perform

It is particularly telling that, unlike the desk-based segment, there is no significant grouping of Appeasers offering more benefits than are effective. That’s not to say that frontline Drivers offer a uniformly worse benefits package compared to Leaders.

In fact, many benefits, such as discount vouchers and health and wellbeing plans, are more likely to be offered by this segment compared to the leading segment. As with desk-based organisations, it is where the emphasis is placed that has the biggest impact.

Comparison chart of the percent of frontline organizations offering benefits across multiple categories.

Drivers match Leaders when it comes to fulfilling the most basic physiological needs of frontline workers. They also greatly exceed them when it comes to wellbeing measures, but fall significantly short when it comes to precautionary measures such as insurance and dental coverage.

This suggests that it is not enough to offer simple wellbeing measures to keep frontline workers satisfied. Instead, employers in this area must consider targeting the long-term wellbeing of their employees.

Of course, there are gaps in our ability to quantify the perfect package from the data we have.

In all instances, the benefits package is just one part of what keeps employees engaged; from the pay packet to the quality and attitude of middle managers, to the ability of an organisation’s leadership to inspire and maintain a positive company culture, there exists a whole host of factors that may lead one organisation with sparse benefits to outperform another with great benefits against the spectrum of employee engagement metrics.


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Francesca Tomaselli

Francesca joined Reward Gateway in 2021 and enjoys connecting with HR professionals to better understand their business and people objectives. When she isn’t making the world a better place to work, you’ll find her on a coastal walk or sunbathing with a good novel - the simple things of a Sydney lifestyle!

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