How to Attract Top Talent: 4 Perks Employees Actually Want

A good package of benefits will help you to recruit the best talent and to retain your best workers

The unemployment rate in the UK is currently at its lowest since the 1970s, with only 3.8% of people currently out of work. If you’re a business owner trying to attract top talent, you may have your work cut out for you.

In a candidate’s market, where the most experienced and best-qualified individuals can cherry-pick who they work for, how can you make your company stand out? What makes a great candidate accept one job offer over another? It’s certainly not all about salary.

A recent study by The Independent found that half of the employees polled would leave their current position for a post with more perks. When it comes to attracting the best person for the job, you need to give careful consideration to the whole employment package on offer. It’s the people who make a business successful, so it’s well worth putting the effort in to come up with some work perks employees actually want. A good package of benefits will help you to recruit the best talent and to retain your best workers.

1. Flexible Working 

Flexible working allows employees to manage their work in a way that meets their needs. This could mean allowing flexible start and end times, for example, to enable a parent to manage their childcare commitments, or permitting working from home to accommodate a health condition, disability or other needs.

All employees in the UK have the legal right to request flexible working, but employers are not obliged to agree to it. According to a recent study by Fractl, 88% of people would consider the availability of flexible hours when choosing between job offers. This perk was second only to better healthcare insurance. Research by Flexjobs reveals that flexible working is the most important consideration for parents, even ahead of salary.

If your company offers flexible working, you will likely increase the pool of talent from which you can recruit. This perk could edge out a competitor if a talented candidate has two offers on the table.

With advances in technology such as virtual receptionists and advanced business phone systems, which allow you to divert calls to any device or location while retaining high levels of professionalism, it’s relatively easy and cost-effective to make arrangements like remote working entirely feasible. It could even boost the productivity of your workers. And if you’re struggling to find the right team members, creating a remote working policy will allow you to expand your search globally.

2. Private Health and Dental Care

While we are blessed in the UK with the National Health Service (NHS), many employees would be attracted by an offer of funded or subsidised private healthcare. The benefits of private healthcare include shorter waiting lists for appointments, better facilities, private hospital rooms, a choice of doctor or surgeon and more.

Dental care is also much in demand from employees. Although dentists offer services on the NHS, many employed people have to pay for dental work, which can be extremely expensive. The average cost of a root canal procedure performed by an NHS dentist is £204, while a basic checkup, which can be over in minutes, currently costs £22.70. It’s not surprising that many people would be interested in working for an employer who would cover these costs!

A study by Hibob, which helps businesses set up employee benefits, found that 41% of people would like to see private medical insurance included in their employee benefits, while 40% were keen to see dental care added, too.

3. A Healthy Pension Contribution

Few people want to work forever, so a generous employer contribution to a pension scheme will always catch the eye of job seekers. A report from The People’s Pension showed that 83% of employees highly value their workplace pension and that 69% of job seekers actively look for the pension on offer when choosing jobs to apply for and accept.

Few people can afford to rely on the state pension, which is capped at £129.20 per week.

If you have a great pension scheme, make sure you let candidates know about it. According to The People’s Pension Plan report, 46% of employers do not promote their pension offer and 57% do not think it has any impact on recruitment.

4. Generous Annual Leave and Paid Sabbaticals

Who doesn’t want more paid holiday time? From extra annual leave days for length of service to paid sabbaticals, more paid leave ranks highly on the employee perks wishlist. According to a study by Metropolitan Life, 72% of HR professionals surveyed listed “unlimited paid time off” as the top new benefit employers should be offering.

Regarding leave allowances, some companies have hit the headlines for all the right reasons in recent years. Visualsoft offers unlimited holiday time; Airbnb gives employees $2,000 (£1,413) to go travelling and ARM Holdings allows employees to take a four-week sabbatical for every four years of service.

A growing number of companies are offering employees unlimited holiday. This may seem radical, but research shows that employees who are granted the freedom to manage their own leave take fewer days off than those on a traditional fixed allowance.

If you want to build a team of professionals who will take your business to the next level, it’s time to give serious thought to the employee benefits package on offer. Candidates are looking for more than a job offer and a salary.

Some perks will always be a hit with employees, such as flexible working and generous pension schemes, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Companies are getting inventive with the perks they offer, and if you want to compete for the best talent, you need to, too. Healthy, happy employees who feel valued and trusted are much more likely to remain loyal to your company and strive for success. Everyone wins.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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