It’s no secret that corporate perks support an engaged and happy workforce, which is why most employers today will offer its employees a perk in some shape or form. Perks have moved on a lot over the years and benefits such as a gym membership no longer seem radical, in fact they have become commonplace.
Because the perks that an employer can offer has no limits – only budget restraints – it can be difficult to decide what extras will make a difference to a workforce’s culture and performance. There’s nothing worse than offering an employee benefit that costs your business money when it doesn’t resonate with staff or assist your organisation in any shape or form. We call this ‘a lost benefit’. A lost benefit is far worse than no benefit at all.
So, what are the best corporate perks you can give your employees? Join us in this article as we explore office perks and the strategic elements you need to consider when putting them in place. We’ve also reviewed the corporate perks all top employers offer and how your organisation could benefit by offering them too.
What is a corporate perk?
A corporate perk is an attractive benefit an employer offers its workforce on top of a salary. The main aim of a perk is to engage employees and make them feel proud to work for your company. The result of this is a happier, more motivated and more productive workforce. Offering better perks than competitors can attract and retain top talent too. It’s not compulsory for a business to give staff these extras, however studies have shown that employers with a good employee benefits scheme outshine those that don’t.
What perks can I give my employees?
Every business has complete control over what perks they can give. That means the sky’s the limit when it comes to deciding extra benefits for your workforce. You do however have to consider that your business will be charged tax and national insurance on benefits for your employees. But, you can avoid these charges under HMRC’s non-taxable trivial benefits guideline. Benefits and perks that cost £50 or less per employee do not require tax or national insurance payments on them.
What makes a good corporate perk at work?
The opportunities are endless when it comes to putting a corporate perks package in place. This can result in businesses forking out for expensive extras that don’t see a return on investment, i.e. employees are not happier, engaged or more productive. The best way to understand what makes a good corporate perk is asking your employees what they want. Every workforce will be different, which means there is no one-sized-perk-that-fits-all option. If you have a younger workforce, perks such as VIP gig tickets or discounts on shopping gift cards would likely resonate. Yet, a slightly older workforce might get more benefit from on-site childcare or unlimited holidays. Perks should also be reviewed each year. A workforce’s likes and dislikes will alter as everyday trends and developments change our behaviours. Therefore, it’s important to keep up with what your workforce want to make sure your perks are benefitting your employees and not losing your business money.
Corporate perk ideas: the perks top employers offer
Businesses known for having desirable perks tend to offer benefits that really help its employees. Many of these companies are big businesses with big resources, however not all of them have a benefits-budget we all dream of. Small businesses can offer desirable perks too. They might just have to be a bit more creative. The most important element when it comes to creating your corporate perks package is doing your research beforehand to find out what makes your workforce tick. If you put in place perks your employees’ will value, you will notice a positive effect on your organisation’s culture and retain staff for longer.
All of the most popular corporate perks we’ve reviewed are offered by businesses listed in Glassdoor’s annual best employers to work for report. These businesses have been included in the credible list time and time again, and their benefits are an element of what makes them stand out above the rest. Read on to discover more about the perks top UK employers offer:
1. Gym membership or on-site fitness facilities
Gym memberships are not a new perk concept, in fact this kind of benefit has been around for many years. However, with employee wellbeing becoming increasingly important, a gym membership or on-site fitness facilities is something employees will see value in. Most top employers’ offer fitness perks and businesses like Vodafone and Google even have fitness centres on site. This keeps the perk within the vicinity of the organisation encouraging employees to use it more often as it’s easier to access and more visible in their working day.
2. Attractive maternity and paternity perks
The workplace has adapted to supporting families over the past few decades. While there was a moment in time that family-based benefits were only in place for mothers, paternity leave was introduced in 2003 to give fathers paid-leave, providing a better rounded support for families. With more than three quarters of mothers now in work, perks that make your business attractive for parents will certainly make you stand out. Netflix gives new mothers and fathers unlimited parental leave and pays them a full salary during this time. Campbell Soup Company takes its family perks one step further by providing childcare facilities on-site, after school programmes for children up to the age of 12 and a private room for nursing mothers.
3. Unlimited holidays
Allow your employees time to enjoy themselves and relax, and they’ll work harder and be more productive when they return. This is the model Netflix takes with its unlimited holidays perk. Netflix’s CEO takes 6 weeks holiday every year and encourages employees to do the same. Hubspot also offers unlimited holiday allowance and gives employees an extra four weeks paid leave for every five years they’re with the company.
4. Everyday discounts
The most successful corporate perks are those that genuinely help employees. Rising costs and outgoing expenditure is something that people deal with every day. Businesses like Starbucks and John Lewis have recognised this and launched employee discount schemes to help their workforces save money on living essentials. Starbucks give staff access to discounts across a number of popular retail and grocery stores, as well as a Spotify subscription so employees’ can stream as much audio entertainment as they like. John Lewis also offers staff the ability to access discounts for popular retailers and subsidised tickets for gigs and shows.
5. Paid voluntary work
‘Purpose’ is something people thrive from and millennials and younger workers are now seeking this when applying for jobs. Paid voluntary work is a perk that allows employees to have a sense of purpose by helping out communities or causes that need them. It’s hard for staff to carry out charitable arrangements while holding down a full-time job, which is why some businesses are allowing staff to work on voluntary projects while still getting paid. Salesforce offers its workforce six paid days each year to carry out voluntary work and high-street retailer, The Body Shop, offers employees five days. With the younger generation being more ethical and socially-responsible aware, paid voluntary work will no doubt be an extra that will grow in popularity.
6. Tuition reimbursement
One of the reasons why an employee can go from being engaged to disengaged is when learning opportunities stall. Many people get satisfaction from growing their skills, and a business that can offer this on an ongoing basis will benefit from a highly engaged workforce. A Linkedin report confirmed the importance of learning new skills with 94% of employees saying they would stay with a company longer if it invested in their career development. E-commerce giant, Amazon, recognised this and launched a ‘Career Choice’ programme where it pays for 95% of the cost of tuition and textbooks staff need to gain skills and fulfil their career ambitions. Hubspot also supports its workforce with learning perks by reimbursing tuition fees, including university degree costs.
7. Flu jabs and other vaccines
Healthcare as an employee benefit is commonplace across the UK. However, businesses have found that not all employees engage in the benefit, especially younger workforces who don’t see the need for healthcare support in the near future. Flu jabs however are something businesses have found employees engage with, and as the rollout of a pandemic vaccine is underway there could be a spike in this kind of workforce perk. Campbell Soup Company is a business that’s already ahead with a vaccine corporate-perk; it has been offering free flu jabs to employees for decades.
8. Flexible working
Pre-pandemic flexible working was seen as a huge perk to employees. Companies who allowed staff to choose their working hours and work remotely benefited from an engaged and motivated workforce. Vodafone is known for its flexible working culture. Head office staff can decide the time at which they start and end their working day and whether they work remotely or not. They can even have a duvet day if they really need it. 2022 and beyond will no doubt see flexible working become the norm, and companies that continue to honour the flexible set-up employees have become accustomed to will certainly benefit from a happier and more productive workforce.
9. Interest free loans
Loans are something you’d normally expect to talk to your bank about, not your employer. However, some businesses recognising the importance of financial wellbeing are offering interest-free loans to staff. UK real estate company, Zoopla, understands how financial stresses can affect performance, which is why one of its corporate perks is an interest-free loan up to the value of £5,000. Employees can use the money towards anything they like – a wedding, a new home and even a holiday. If your company can’t afford to offer interest-free loans, salary sacrifice perks can be a way to help out with financial wellbeing. Techscheme is a salary sacrifice benefit where employees can buy any tech they want from Currys PC World without paying a penny upfront. They then pay for the items through instalments across the year to make everyday living costs more affordable.
10. Healthy meals
We all know a healthier workforce is a happier workforce, and some employers have taken this into their own hands by offering daily nutritious lunches to staff for free. AirBnB, who has been voted one of Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work, offers nourishing snacks to its staff and it has become a benefit that their workforce get real value from. Whether your business decides to offer healthy food onsite or provide prepaid cards or gift cards to purchase lunch each day, providing wholesome meals is a benefit that will pay in the long run by helping sickness days decrease and productivity levels rise.
More extravagant corporate perks to consider
The list of corporate perks top businesses offer doesn’t divulge anything too unusual in the benefits arena. So, if you really want to stand out, like Propellernet has with its Dream Machine making employees wishes a reality, here are some more unique corporate perk ideas that are offered by a small number of businesses in the UK.
- A nap room for post-lunch naps
- Weekly professional cleaners to clean employees’ homes
- On-site hairdressers
- On-site yoga and meditation studio
- Dogs can be taken to work
- Cooking classes
- Driving lessons
- Fertility benefits, such as paying for egg freezing
Want to offer better corporate perks to your workforce? Fill in the form on the right and one of our employee benefits experts will be in touch.