Looking for New Kinds of ‘Reward Programmes’ to Retain Talent

The pandemic catapulted us into the future in more ways than we anticipated. Mental health challenges, pandemic-induced hesitation, and family and relationship dynamics all saw a tectonic shift, with a heightened focus on personal wellness, especially in places of employment. Workplace reward programmes now look drastically different than a yearly bonus or a five-pound “Employee of The Year” crystal trophy. Now, it isn’t just about collecting remuneration after a hard day’s shift; it is increasingly becoming more about a work-life synergy.

The big quit

Despite looming dialogues of an impending recession and frozen hiring processes across industries, India’s white-collar demographic is embracing the great resignation. The attrition rate in India is projected to shoot up to 19% in 2022 compared to 12.1% in 2021, according to a survey by human resources consulting firm Omam Consultants.

As per a Pew Research Centre report, the reasons stated below are among some of the top reasons why most employees quit in favour of better opportunities.

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  • Feeling disrespected at work 
  • Non-flexible work hours 
  • Subpar benefits 
  • Working beyond stipulated hours 
  • Low payscale 

Those not looking for a role change are already ‘quiet quitting’, refusing to work 18 hours a day, and standing up against workplace practices like presenteeism. It would come as a surprise, but 71% of people would instead work at home than get a promotion, stated a report from software company Ivanti.

Yet, companies across the world seem to pay no heed. The reasons for attrition aren’t surprising, nor are they novel. As per a Willis Towers Watson survey, only 12% anticipated returning to “normal” by 2023. Will the wait until next year be detrimental to the growth of organisations? Already, 78% face talent acquisition challenges, and 64% struggle to retain employees.

Do reward programmes need a facelift?

Organisations must reimagine business practices to ride the Great Reshuffle wave, or for that matter, find ways to come up for air. Sweeping changes must take precedence to fortify new strategies and retain talent, for which, reward programmes must be revisited.

Introducing new capabilities in human resources to make the workplace more empathetic, holistic, and fulfilling will open avenues to refashion a pre-pandemic culture. As we adopt more alternative work models, introducing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices is a step towards achieving the Big Four Goals—heralding a purpose, employee engagement, increasing the organisation’s financial capabilities, and being mindful of a sustainable lifestyle. 

Although conversations regarding gender, inclusion, and diversity are strengthening, India may only achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2027. India’s gender pay gap is one of the highest in the world, with women making only 21% of the income of men, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021.

One of the other ways companies retain talent is by building robust leading and learning practices and strategies. By 2026, the global eLearning market is forecasted to reach over USD 370 billion. Videos reign supreme as leading and learning programmes shift to virtual platforms (Valuates Reports).

One can’t win the talent war without tangible actions (even hybrid and remote operations). Employees are now actively looking for reward programmes beyond papers and contracts or are happy to find other organisations more likely to follow through.


  • India Inc may see more staff saying bye this year: Survey | The Economic Times | April 13, 2022
  • Low pay, disrespect, no progress are top reasons why why workers quit their jobs in 2021, finds survey | Mint | July 10, 2022 
  • A new report shows that 71% people would rather work at home than get a promotion! | YourStory | March 11, 2022
  • India Employers Rethink Work, Total Rewards And Redefine Careers To Win Talent War: WTW survey | BW People | July 08, 2022
  • India’s best employers for women set to achieve 50:50 gender balance by 2027 – Study | People Matters
  • The link between India’s gender pay gap and women’s enrolment in STEM majors | Hindustan Times | March 31, 2022
  • eLearning Market to Reach USD 370 Billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 8.56% | Valuates Reports | Cision PR Newswire | May 17, 2021

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