Job Satisfaction and the Power of Feel-Good ROI

Employee Satisfaction & Benefits ROI

When it comes to benefits success, general wisdom says that mathematical ROI - what a benefit saves relative to what it costs - is the gold standard. But that's just one of the measures that count.

Hard ROI is, of course, critical. Short-term back-up care, for example, has substantial and easily quantifiable returns. If you provide child care for a working mom on a day when she's surprised to find herself without it (sick nanny, snow day, runny nose), you get an employee to work and save a day that would otherwise have been lost. Similarly, when you definitively answer a working dad's question about financial aid, you save the hour-plus of worktime that would have been required to hunt down the same info during business hours, the only time the college's financial aid office is open.

That kind of tangible result - along with obvious retention and productivity savings of, say, child care and elder care - is what might be referred to as hard ROI. It's easy to calculate and is absolutely critical to any fully operational benefits program.

Satisfied Employees = Productive Employees

But equally critical are the additional benefits - socio-economic benefits and what you might call feel-good ROI.

As an example, you can look at educational advising. College Coach gives people advice from former admissions and finance officers about a child's education. It's easy to offer, low effort on the part of the employer, and provides employees' access to experts from the moment you link to their portal

As noted above, there are absolutely tangible money- and time-saving benefits to getting instruction from someone who used to make admissions decisions about, say, the odds of your child getting into a particular college (just ask any parent of a high school junior how much time they spent at work Googling phrases like, "Acceptance rates for B students.").

But college advising has other rewards. It levels the playing field for employees who don't have the benefits of individualized academic and college counseling afforded students at private schools - socio-economic ROI.

And not to be under appreciated, using the program - say, to help a child get accepted to college or to solve an argument between parent and child over whether the story of that infamous junior year party would really make a good essay topic - makes employees really happy. Clients often use words like, "I love to brag about this to my friends" and "I would work here for this alone."

We call those things "benefits equity," "benefits envy," "job satisfaction," "recruitment," and "retention."

How Good Will Impacts Job Satisfaction

These types of things have significant upsides in addition to hard and tangible ROI. They're indispensable for those who are looking to distinguish themselves in important ways - as an employer brand.

Because increasingly, HR departments are realizing brand isn't limited to just products put on the market, but the company itself. In other words, how employers look to prospective employers - those elusive "top people" - is of increasing import. One need only look at "Best Place to Work" lists and some of the marquis employer names people have on their "dream" lists to catch the wave.

One woman I spoke to said she chose her current job after someone commented on her company's great reputation for flexibility, the support they offer, and how they treat their people. "You're so lucky," the friend told her, "I would love to work there."

That kind of good will may not be instantly evident on a spreadsheet. But it's an additional return you can absolutely bank on.

College Coach supports employees and organizations with valuable, time-saving expert educational advice. Watch the video to learn more about the solution and why on top employer calls it "an incredibly huge win."

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.