Five things employers must know about employee benefits

Let’s look at five things employers need to know about this topic

Although some employee benefits are provided for by law, such as minimum wages rates, pension payments and holiday allowances, some employers choose to offer further perks that act as both an incentive and a reward.

If an employer can tap into what their current and future workforce really appreciates, the benefits are invaluable. With this in mind, let’s look at five things employers need to know about this topic.

1. A variety of employee benefits works well

These can range from simple ideas such as ‘dress down Friday’, free snacks in a basket by the coffee machine or an extra day off on your birthday to weightier options such as gifting company shares; however, they all share the same aim. This is to boost morale, increase productivity, and help to retain valuable workers.

2. Extra benefits can outweigh salary rises

There are lots of people around who claim they would take a lower pay rise, or even consider a lower-paid job, in return for benefits they consider valuable; for example, the opportunity to job share reflects the importance some employees place on work-life balance, while free or heavily subsidised meals mean more disposable income each month.

3. Employee perks lead to a happier workforce

When everything else is equal, research shows that employees with access to workplace benefits are generally happier than those who do not. This inevitably depends to some extent on the perks to which they have access; however, as happier people work harder and stay with a company longer, directives offering employees a range of benefits from which to choose will generally do better than one that does not provide something as simple as free hot drinks for its staff.

4. Don’t underestimate the human need to ‘belong’

There are studies that claim no amount of perks and benefits compensate for a stressful and disconnected workplace; therefore, it is well worth employers focusing on benefits that foster positive relationships before rolling out anything extra. These do not have to be complicated or expensive; for example, simple things such as creating a dedicated space for people to socialise during breaks, organising team or department days or planning a regular pot-luck lunch can make a huge difference.

5. Broader benefit programmes are the most successful

In many cases, employers that offer a range of themed perks intended to boost workers’ health, finances or personal self that employees can choose for themselves are considered more attractive than specific perks offered to the masses.

Health benefits could include free or subsidised gym memberships or private healthcare plans, while financial perks such as a free session with an investment advisor, a boosted pension pot or a contribution towards commuting costs are popular choices. In terms of personal benefits, many employees are keen to achieve a more balanced work-home life; therefore, offers involving flexi-time, the chance to work from home or reduced hours during school holidays are good bets.

There is no doubt that employee benefits systems can have a significant positive impact on a business, especially when they offer tangible value to all members of the workforce.

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