The 5 Best Employee Benefits: What Employees Want

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For many employees, particularly the younger generation, getting paid for the job they do is no longer enough. As well a finding a sense of purpose or value from their work, job seekers want the businesses they work for to offer benefits that enhance their life as a whole.

Yet understanding exactly what employees want and how to provide this effectively is a challenge for many business owners and HR departments. So what are the best employee benefits, and how can you offer them?

What are employee benefits

Employee benefits are defined as rewards or compensations that are offered to workers by businesses in addition to their wages. Although these benefits can be money-based, such as bonuses or company cars, they’re generally defined by the positive impact they have on employees’ lives.

They may seem like a recent addition to working life, but employee benefits are increasingly on the agenda of job-seekers and workers, with 38.3% of 3,000 surveyed UK employees ranking perks as the second-biggest attraction to join a business (behind salary). Despite the initial investment employee benefits require, businesses are also feeling the advantages of greater perks, with 83% of employees feeling motivated by benefits and 69% feeling demotivated by the lack of them.

In short, to attract the best talent and to keep them motivated in your business, then offering good employee benefits is a must.

What are the best employee benefits in the UK?

Many top organisations and businesses now offer standard benefits packages to their employees.  However, it’s no coincidence that the best places to work in the UK also offer the best employee benefits packages.

As well as offering comprehensive healthcare support, Salesforce has developed its own holistic wellbeing programme and innovative offerings to create a wellbeing-focused internal culture. Its parental, retirement and holiday policies are some of the best and most comprehensive, plus perks include everything from pet-friendly workplaces to performance bonuses and free food in the office.

Similarly, Microsoft works hard to support its employees, both personally and professionally. Alongside healthcare and wellbeing programmes, Employee Resource Groups, social and networking communities help workers to make personal connections with people from across the world. Plus, the organisation offers a huge range of training and development programmes, including financial and skills tuition, to help employees progress inside and outside of work.

SMEs are also leading the way when it comes to offering innovative and alternative employee benefits. From personal wellness budgets to 24/7 GP access and free yoga, benefits packages can easily be tailored to enhance a business’ internal culture and values, no matter the size of your business.

What types of employee benefits can you offer?

A recent survey found that just 41% of employees are satisfied with the benefits their business offers. So, when it comes to putting your employee benefits package together, it’s key that they meet your team’s needs and reflect your internal culture. From the corporate to the creative, here are the five most common employee benefits that are offered by businesses.

Health and wellbeing

Protecting employees’ physical and mental health and wellbeing has now become a core element of many businesses’ internal culture. Private health insurance, statutory sick pay and some form of mental health support should be at the base of any employee benefits package. Working with internal employee networks, health and safety executives and HR to develop tailored health and wellbeing benefits is also recommended to develop support programmes that suit your team’s needs.

Financial support

Offering a workplace pension is now a legal requirement for all businesses in the UK. However, offering extra financial support for employees’ retirement, such as funds or stakeholdings, will help to attract and retain experienced and talented employees.

Financial support around childcare is also a key consideration for many job-seekers. Whether it’s offering vouchers or providing nurseries and day-care on-site, childcare benefits can also help you to attract and retain the best employees from a range of backgrounds and demographics.

Leave and holidays

Certain types of leave, such as sickness, bereavement or childcare, will already be key parts of your employment contracts. However, working closely with teams and employees to make your leave policies as flexible and inclusive as possible will ensure you provide the right support and avoid discrimination within your internal culture. For example, offering paid leave for adoption, fertility treatment, or menopause will enhance your equality policies.

Adapting your holiday or extended leave policies to offer more than the statutory requirement will also make your organisation more attractive to the best talent and show that you’re a business that prioritises employee wellbeing over profits.

Treats and perks

These benefits are where you can be the most creative and flexible. From the Cycle to Work Scheme to free food to helping colleagues follow their personal interests with vouchers for skills or training courses, continuously reviewing and updating the treats and perks you offer will keep your employees engaged and increase their loyalty.

Flexible and remote working

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organisations have become more open-minded towards flexible and remote working. Helping employees to be as productive as possible wherever they choose to work from will ensure that your team remains happy, reduce the amount of presenteeism and make you more attractive to a range of job seekers.

In short, whatever employee benefits you decide to offer your team, make sure they reflect their needs and internal culture to ensure they’re effective at attracting and retaining the best talent for your business.

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