Rising living costs, tax increases and even the effects of Brexit are all affecting people’s incomes, and that means at a time when everyone is tightening their belts, workers are looking to their employer to support them in whatever way they can.
Of course, a good employer will always have their people’s best interests at heart, but recruitment is a costly process and the risk of losing good people to competitors that are more aligned with the needs of their workers – particularly during the current talent shortage – is a headache that HR can do without. In other words, if there was ever a time to revaluate the perks and rewards that will benefit your workforce, it is now.
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want!
The people function in an organisation is meant to have its finger on the pulse of what its staff need – and want, and in most cases, most of the time, HR has got it right. However, when it comes to benefits and perks, do you really know what your employees desire in a benefits offering?
Passé benefits are not fit for purpose
Creating a benefits strategy that is relevant and actually provides your people with something they will use isn’t rocket science. A staff ping pong table and Doughnuts on Friday just won’t cut the mustard anymore. Looking at the trends is one way of garnering what the employee appetites for perks are. Here are some of the popular benefits that we know are likely to engage your current workers – and pique the interest of prospective new hires.
Mental health and wellbeing benefits
Health benefits continue to be a draw for many employees in fact research shows that women’s health support like menstrual, fertility and family-focused benefits are in demand. For example, a Women in the Workplace study by Biote showed that almost 20% of workers are managing menopause and 20% of those are thinking of leaving their job due to menopause symptoms. By putting women’s health benefits in place would have a huge impact on these employees.
Similarly, a growing awareness of mental health in the workplace is seeing a rise in Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) which are ideally placed perks to support mental health and wellbeing. And with people more likely to make use of this type of benefit, offering it shows employees that their employer is providing a psychologically safe environment for them.
The same goes for providing benefits like virtual gym membership. Not only does this provide the opportunity to strike the work/life balance that many employees crave, but staff can access their online digital wellbeing platform at their convenience, empowering them to take charge of their own health and better manager their time.
Lead with L&D
Professional development opportunities and continuous learning is another great benefit that is important to employees and can give your company a competitive advantage. Learning and development can improve retention and is now seen as a right and not a privilege – particularly with Generation Z. In fact, 87% of millennials would be swayed in their decision to take up a position with a company that offers L&D.
A further study from Genesis Analytics found that while money talks in benefits provision, it only offers short term satisfaction. Instead focusing on developing your people is going to have far-reaching benefits and provide motivation and engagement.
HR can provide opportunities for professional skills development and training, mentoring programmes and coaching opportunities. From soft skills training, digital learning, e-learning or even mental health first aider training, giving employees the opportunity to improve themselves is a great tool for engagement, and the organisation should benefit too with an enriched skills pool.
Employee discount schemes: Don’t discount the discount
Programmes which give money off on things like supermarket shopping, holidays and hotels, cinema tickets, eating out and car services, for example, are a way for employers to provide a perk alongside their more targeted benefits offering such as healthcare or an EAP. The provision of this kind of benefit can be a great morale booster and with the current cost-of-living crisis, anything that stretches a salary and offers value for money is welcome.
To get that engagement and to ensure that you maintain a competitive advantage it is certainly worth asking your people what they want. Pulse surveys and focus groups are a good way to test the water and see what might be popular. Tailoring your benefits offering to ensure you are providing the right rewards to your people will go a long way in helping create an optimum workplace culture.