Employee benefits are fast becoming a key focus for job seekers and employers alike. No longer seen as an ‘added bonus’, they are invaluable for attracting and hiring the best talent in the market, as well as improving staff retention.Of course, such benefits don’t come for free and those short-term costs may well overshadow any long-term benefits, putting some companies off. So it’s important to understand what they involve and why they’re worth your consideration now more than ever.
An employee benefit is generally regarded as a ‘perk’ given to someone who takes on a particular role with a company—an added extra they receive beyond the expected regular salary and safe work environment.Such benefits might include pensions, private health insurance, and employee assistance plans (which offer support in times of hardship, for example with stress or depression), as well as offers like gym membership, travel costs and child care vouchers.
Not all, but that could change. The availability of pension schemes for employees became compulsory with the Pensions Act 2008. As part of the roll-out, large employers are now obliged to enrol employees in a pension scheme and pay a minimum contribution, which can then be topped up by the employee. Smaller employers will start having to do the same soon.This has set a precedent that other important employee benefits could follow. However, it is likely to be competition in the marketplace that ensures a benefits benchmark employers will need to offer in order to survive.
There are many advantages to considering employee benefits for your company. Three of the most important are:
If you want to hire the best talent, you’re going to need to be able to compete for them. Which means providing incentives (beyond a good salary) to demonstrate your commitment to their wellbeing should they come to work for you. In fact, 47% of UK respondents in a recent survey said they’d actually prefer better benefits (including income protection) to higher wages.
Thankfully if you’re reading this you’re already putting yourself in a good position to beat the competition to those candidates. Because another survey revealed that 63% of small business owners are confused by the employee benefits options on offer and don’t know how to find cost-effective solutions for staff. While over 22% of owners say they do not offer any benefits at all.
It goes without saying that employee benefits can help improve staff morale. Even the ‘smaller’ perks can make a difference, like child care vouchers to help your working parents or travel subsidies to help those with longer (or more difficult) commutes. And a happy workforce is also a more loyal one, which means that such perks can improve productivity and reduce turnover. As the Capita Employee Benefits 2015 Insight Report revealed: 66% of staff interviewed said they would stay with an employer that offered good benefits.
You only have to look to Google to see how it can be done. They lead the field in using employee perks to keep up morale and retain their staff and have ranked highly on the Forbes list of best places to work since 2009. And while their benefits—such as free snacks, gym facilities, and giving employees 20% of their time to work on personal projects—might not translate well to all businesses, you can certainly take a leaf out of their book. They’ve shown what’s possible when a company takes employee benefits seriously.
Private health insurance is an important consideration for a lot of employees these days, who want to enjoy the security of knowing they’re in safe hands should they become ill. However, health-related benefits also work in the company’s favour by helping to create a secure and healthy workforce.
According to Tom Newcombe of PwC, sick leave costs UK employers £29 billion a year.So employee benefits such as medical cover or even gym membership could not only help to maintain a healthy, happy workforce and reduce absenteeism, it would also mean less wasted time and money that impacts the company’s revenue.
If you want to know more about employee benefits, or need help finding cost-effective solutions to keep your business competitive, we can help. Get in touch today and speak to one of our employee benefits experts