Employers often think they know which perks will reel in the best and brightest talent. Many organisations offer discounts on their own products or services, or they provide reimbursement for training and career development. However, trends are proving that what most employees truly desire is more time. Time in the form of more vacation days. Time in the form of more flexible hours. Time in the form, even, of a sabbatical. While not every employer can provide this kind of flexibility to its employees, there are ways for both employer and employee to take advantage of a pick-and-mix scheme which can help to attract and retain talent.
Offering ways to accommodate employees’ personal preferences and needs can be an important benefit. Whether they would like to arrive at work later and leave later to avoid bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic or need to have an earlier schedule to make it to daycare pickup in time, the option of a flexible schedule is a benefit which costs employers nothing, but can be very attractive to employees. Another flexible work option is allowing employees to work at home part or all of the week, which can also be a coveted perk.
According to a survey in 2019, 81% of employees believe flexible working would make a job more attractive to them, up from 70% just a year before. The benefit is becoming increasingly popular, with 68% of UK workers being offered flexible working compared to 54% in 2018. In addition, 58% of those surveyed say they think that working away from the office would improve motivation.
Health and wellness benefits
Employers can go a long way to help build healthier habits in their employees, given that stress has caused nearly half of adults to adopt unhealthy eating habits and 29% increase their alcohol consumption to cope, according to the Mental Health Foundation. For offices which provide snacks for employees, substituting crisps for carrots, apples, and other healthier fare can help encourage healthier eating habits. When lunches are ordered in, vegetarian and vegan options can be added to the menu.
If an onsite gym isn’t feasible because of budget and space concerns, offering discounted or fully-paid-for gym memberships can encourage physical activity, as can onsite showering facilities for those who bike to work. Lunchtime or early morning yoga classes are also benefits which appeal to some potential employees, as are standing desks.
Group health insurance is another benefit which employees value. When covered by a group health insurance plan, employees can get a referral from their general practitioner and receive treatment at a private facility.
Offering training, particularly in new software and other technical areas, can help with employee satisfaction and help workers advance in your company rather than looking for a job elsewhere.
Training can be done in-house online, or by bringing in experts. You can also send employees to seminars and conferences on a regular basis to keep up on trends in their field. One-on-one coaching and mentoring, perhaps by senior staff members, can show the company is committed to helping employees succeed and advance in their careers. In-house training can also help protect employees from making costly mistakes like falling for a cyber attack like phishing or spoofing.
Retirement planning and stock options
The UK now requires all private sector companies to enrol their employees in a retirement plan, and nearly 90% of workers in medium and large companies are now contributing, as are 70% in small companies, according to research. Once the law is completely phased in, employees must contribute at least 5% of their earnings, while employers will be required to add at least 3%.
Another benefit to consider is giving your employees ownership of their labour and profits through stock options. This can help them feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in regards to where they work.
Finding reliable childcare is a challenge that not only hampers parents, but can cut worker productivity if an employee must be absent to care for a child or cut back hours. Childcare can also take up a large share of disposable income.
Large companies can offer onsite daycare facilities and nurseries, while smaller companies can provide childcare subsidies or vouchers. Other options include offering reserved spots at local childcare providers for staff to use in an emergency. Providing information on local childcare options can also be helpful.
These and other benefits can go a long way in boosting interest in your company from potential hires whilst ensuring existing staff feel valued.
About the Author
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in care and service. He uses his many years of experience as a manager to write content for businesses on topics ranging from staff retention and engagement to cybersecurity.