It is typically quite straight forward when we think about a rewards package for our employees. It’s a salary and maybe some commission or bonus scheme. This is understandable. It’s the way that things have always been.
However, employee motivation for coming to work has changed significantly. Additionally, working practices themselves keep transforming so it’s important to consider your approach to employee benefits.
In this post we’re going to look at some common employee benefits and what businesses could consider to ensure that their benefits attract and retain the right people.
1. Employee Benefits – Money First
Most businesses use monetary rewards as the key benefit for their employees. As we said, employees will get their salaries and might additionally get bonuses, commission or regular salary increases.
However, research has shown time and time again that monetary rewards do not motivate or engage employees to the degree that other rewards do. Employers are often stuck in the cycle of thinking that money is what employees care about most. Don’t get us wrong – money is very important. As a minimum, you need to be paying market rate for the role as you’re unlikely to be able to recruit or retain people if this is not in place.
However, money will only go as far as to get an employee to do work for you. Money will not engage an employee to do good quality work. It usually won’t incentivise them to go the extra mile, get creative, innovative or even remain in employment with you. In fact, when it comes to staff retention, salary is often the least effective motivator. How many times has someone resigned because they’ve been offered more money elsewhere?
This is why it is important that additional rewards are also considered and offered to employees.
2. Time Off and Flexibility
Another common way of rewarding employees will be to give them time off. Holiday is something to which all employees are entitled. However, employers often offer more than the minimum statutory requirement. In reality, in many sectors now, holiday above statutory minimum is an expectation.
Historically, employers have linked additional holiday entitlement to length of service. As an example, people get an extra day of annual leave after they have completed 5 years service. This may have worked in the past but, employees tend to move jobs more frequently now. In fact, the new typical leave of service is 2 – 4 years. This means, you may be offering a “benefit” that most people will never benefit from.
Employers who get a bit more creative offer additional time off for their employees. Examples would be time off for volunteering both as part of the company’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) or on an individual basis for employee chosen charities or community groups. Such time off is considered to deliver significant employee engagement benefits and also support the overall commitment to the company. The investment for the business is rather small to allow employees to take let’s say 1 or 2 days a year for volunteer activities but it can deliver significant benefits of employee engagement. Additionally, it will have a positive impact on company image.
Offering an option to work remotely used to be seen as a benefit. However, since our Covid experience, this is now seen as a basic requirement for many job seekers and employees. Flexibility now comes in different forms. Some organisations are experimenting with a four day working week. Others look at flexibility with working hours and potentially set some core hours and then allow people to work flexibly at other times.
Offering a different type of flexible working won’t work for all roles or companies. Do think carefully around any flexibility you want to offer and consider the business implications.
3. Additional Benefits
If a business is more creative, then they start going further and thinking about additional benefits that they can offer their employees.
Employee well-being is important and so many businesses now offer gym memberships to their employees. Others offer subscriptions to apps such as Calm or Headspace as way to support employee well-being. Another approach is to offer a “Wellness hour” each week. This can be used by employees in any way they see fit. Some use it to go to the gym. Others may use it to take care of some life admin to free up some weekend time.
Employee Assistance Programme
An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is something you can put in place to offers to support to your employees with a range of issues that can crop up in life. The exact offer will depend on the supplier you pick. Typically, an EAP will offer access to counselling or bereavement services, financial advisory and sometimes access to medical help.
It’s worth taking a look at any insurance policies you have in place as many of these now offer an EAP as part of your premium. Talking of insurances…
Another thing you can consider would be putting some insurances in place.
These could be policies such as life assurance, critical illness/long term sickness insurance, and private medical insurance.
Some of these are more costly than others so you may not be able to offer them all.
Ask, Don’t Guess
There are lots of approaches to employee benefits but one thing we’d recommend is actually asking your employees what they would value before introducing new benefits. You can do this through an employee survey.
You’re definitely better to ask the question before implementing benefits that will cost the business money but which may not be valued by your employees.
4. What’s Next? Reconsider your Employee Benefits
There are many additional rewards and benefits that employers offer employees ranging from shopping discounts, to holiday trips or even spa days. We know that for many businesses this a stretch too far but there are many simple cost-effective benefits that companies could consider in an effort of gaining greater engagement of their workforce. You should note that there are often tax implications with employee benefits so you do need to check with your accountant before implement anything.
If you would like to explore the different employee benefits that you could offer, we at Lighter HR Solutions would be happy to help. Just give us call on 0203 319 1649 and we will help you get more creative with your employee rewards!
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