Benefits and Compensation, Diversity & Inclusion, Technology

More Companies Exploring Virtual Travel Benefits to Ensure Inclusivity and Uniqueness

The employment landscape forever changed as the pandemic set off near unprecedented churn throughout American industries. Members of the workforce took notice of their employers’ deficiencies, whether they be low pay, a lack of opportunity, or difficulty maintaining work/life balance, and made it known what they expect from their next job.

Employees are now in high demand across U.S. industries, and employers are making the necessary changes to attract and retain top talent. Ranging from work-from-home opportunities to extended maternity and parental leave, what used to be a dream for workers is now normality, and if not, then employees are highly likely to leave their current position.

The World of Benefits

The lack of benefits and perks is a top reason talent is being driven from their previous employers to more accommodating ones. In a Pew Research Center study on why U.S. workers left their job, 43% of respondents listed poor benefits and perks as a key reason. In response, employers began instituting new incentives—student loan assistance, gym memberships, and childcare subsidies—to appeal to the wants and needs of their employees. While these sorts of offerings appear comprehensive on paper, they often lack inclusivity. Not all talent needs student loan assistance, and some are unable to utilize a gym membership.

What might seem like a perfect solution could potentially cause more problems, as some talent demographics are left alienated and unable to participate in certain perks. In fact, a recent Deloitte University workplace inclusiveness study found that 80% of respondents believed inclusion was an essential part of choosing an employer. Now the question is: How do HR leaders create the differentiators required to attract top talent while making sure everyone can use them?

Take the Team Virtual

The combination of the inclusivity gap and age disparities in the workplace has stumped executives on how to incorporate benefits and perks that holistically apply to an organization. Even the slight differences between remote and in-person workers make it difficult for perks to be inclusive. One emerging solution to this inclusivity conundrum is virtual tourism and virtual vacation hours.

By simply logging into their computers or smartphones, the entire team can enjoy the wonders of virtual tourism without the hassle of actual travel. More accessible, affordable, and sustainable than traditional travel, virtual tourism provides a live and interactive experience led by a qualified local guide. The entire office can go on a tour of dream locations that may have been inconceivable in any other setting, all while saving employees money and paid time off.

HR leaders boost team morale and build stronger team connections through shared experiences by providing relaxation instead of more work. When the team joins a virtual tour, every member has the chance to ask questions and interact with the guide, or peers, all while taking in the sights of a new, unforgettable location. These interactions build a strong foundation for team bonding while taking time away from the hustle and bustle of the normal workday. Employees can also be provided with virtual vacation hours, allowing them time to take 1-hour tours throughout the year with friends and family.

With the pandemic completely restructuring the workplace, having the capacity to bring everyone—remote, in person, or hybrid—together in a positive setting is crucial. Virtual tourism is an employee perk that everyone, regardless of circumstances, can use. Whether thousands of miles away from the office or home with a sick child, every employee has the capacity to tap into the virtual tours being offered.

In today’s competitive labor market, creative differentiators are a crucial aspect of recruiting and retention. Of course, virtual tours cannot be the only employee perk and need to be coupled with a comprehensive benefits package to attract the best talent while retaining current employees. What it does provide is a truly inclusive experience that everyone at an organization, from the ground up, can enjoy.

Brittany Palmer is the Founder and CEO of Beeyonder, a customer-centric virtual tour company based in Boston. As a bilateral amputee, Brittany has overcome many challenges and looks forward to helping others overcome challenges to in-person traveling. She envisions a world where adults and children can travel from anywhere—meeting, interacting with, and learning from people all over the world. Palmer has a BS in management and a BS in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as well as a JD from Pace Law School. She also has a significant amount of international law experience, having worked with companies and regulations in over 100 jurisdictions around the world.

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