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Some companies have remarkable employee perks: does yours compete?

Studies show people are more interested in the benefits, or perks, that the company provides

Although rates of pay are still an important consideration when applying for a job, studies show that people are more interested in the benefits, or perks, that the company provides. Apparently this is the priority for 60% of employees, which is an important factor for employers to take into consideration in a more competitive job market.

The main benefits that employees look for are fairly traditional: health insurance, bonuses, holiday allocation, retirement plans and paid sick leave. For new parents, childcare vouchers, flexible working time and the ability to work from home on occasion are important. Discounted canteens offering healthy meals, wellbeing vouchers with access to specialists as and when required and a car allowance scheme are also high on the list of perks staff would appreciate.

We have all heard about the extent to which large companies provide benefits for their staff, such as giving them three meals a day; providing on site gyms and fitness and life coaches; and equipping relaxation areas with TVs, sofas, toys and games. These benefits may be sustainable for companies such as Google, Facebook, and Airbnb, but they are not economically viable for most SMEs. In a more competitive job market, employers need to consider the perks they could offer staff to attract them to the job vacancies and ascertain which would help with the retention of good staff.

The idea that employees should be rewarded, motivated and delighted is a long way from the days when all you did was clock in, do the job, clock out and get paid. The only expectation of the employer then was that you were paid for the hours you worked; however, perks are the way of the modern working world.

Employers today are looking at ways to keep their staff happy and motivated that may be cheaper than a pay rise but will keep morale high and prevent employees jumping ship to the opposition. There are even companies that specifically negotiate employee perks on behalf of employers.

Luncheon vouchers are no longer de rigueur; today, employers give cinema tickets, supermarket and shop vouchers, restaurant vouchers, gym memberships and child care vouchers, not to mention loans at reduced rates for items such as cars, travel to work and baby equipment. This can work out considerably cheaper than a pay rise and was a way of rewarding staff when pay rises were often not possible during the recession.

Employers’ watchwords today should apparently be attract, motivate and retain.

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