Employee benefits can come in a variety of forms, so it's important to speak to your employees to establish exactly what support they'd like from you as an employer, and then tailor a benefits package to match their needs.
If you're considering implementing a new benefits package, or refreshing your existing benefits, here are some considerations to get you thinking along the right lines:
How benefits can attract and retain talent
Attracting employees can prove difficult if you're a small business that's unable to offer high salaries, but you can use employee benefits to communicate that your business is aware of the needs of employees, and is willing to offer something that will cater to those needs.
Once you’ve attracted employees, however, it’s even more important to make sure you retain them. Employee benefits can also help to reduce staff turnover by giving employees valuable rewards. What's more, the cost of advertising, hiring and training a new employee could be significantly higher than the cost of implementing a benefits package – with many schemes being free for the employer to set up.
If you're unsure of the different benefits packages you can offer your employees, here's a quick look at a few variations to get you started:
1. For an ageing workforce
Research from ONS has shown that over 50s now make up nearly a third of the UK workforce, with the percentage still growing each year. This, combined with rising age expectancy and UK state pension age, means that a large percentage of employers need to adjust their benefits packages to ensure they are catering for an ageing workforce.
It's worth considering how to retain the excellent employees you already have, and if many are nearing the 50+ age bracket, they’ll also want to know that sticking with your business is the best option for them. You’ll also need to make sure that the talented employees you’d like to attract know that you value your older workforce.
As such, it's worth considering benefits tailored to an ageing workforce, such as Group Life Insurance and Health Cash Plans. These packages can make employees feel more secure about their finances as they grow older or need support with their health.
2. For a morale boost
It's important to recognize how your employees have made your business into what it is today. As any small business owner will know, the outlook of your staff can have a serious impact on their productivity and approach to work.
Positive wellbeing within the workplace is vital, so you’ll need to offer employees benefits that allow them to stay focused and happy whilst at work. The provision of benefits such as an Employee Benefits Programme can make a real difference to the mental wellbeing and stress levels of your workforce – allowing them to access confidential counselling to work through issues they might have not had support for otherwise.
Good management and the provision of supportive benefits will help employees manage both physical and mental wellbeing, helping to reduce absenteeism, raise productivity and boost morale in the workplace.
3. For a flexible workforce
For many UK workplaces, working 9-5 within one location has become the new abnormal, with flexible working hours and remote working on the rise. According to research carried out by YouGov, only 6% of employees in the UK are working traditional 9-5 hours, meaning the demand for flexible working is taking priority.
As the workforce becomes more individualized, so will your approach to rewarding, engaging and protecting your employees. Free fruit Fridays, guest speakers and support sessions are great initiatives for a workplace without a large number of flexible or remote workers, but often this can mean that some remote-working employees miss out on the benefits.
For the flexible workplace, providing accessible, diverse and personalized employee benefits is key to engaging employees across the board. This is because the benefits can be accessible to everyone, and with online benefits platforms taking centre stage, your employees could even access them remotely – anytime, anywhere.
One such example is offering your employees the opportunity to take online personal development courses, or offering to subsidize paying for a home work station. Whichever benefits package you decide to go for, pay careful attention to if all your employees will be able to access it.
It’s clear that in order to remain competitive in the modern employment landscape, businesses need to be adaptable, forward-thinking and most of all, supportive to their employees’ needs. By carefully considering how your employee benefits package can be used by your staff in practice, you'll be providing them with benefits that add value to their lives, and you'll see a positive impact on their productivity and wellbeing in return.
About the Author
Wojciech Dochan is Managing Director of employee benefits provider Busy Bees Benefits. The company, based in Shenstone, support over 13,500 private and public sector employers to reward, engage and protect employees through their benefits platform, Smart Hive. They also provide Group Risk protection including life cover, income protection, and critical illness cover.