Employee benefits are crucial to an organisation’s survival; after all a company’s people are its most valuable asset. For HR leaders and Talent Acquisition Managers looking to recruit and retain exceptional talent in economically uncertain times, an attractive employee benefits scheme is a powerful lever to deploy. The average employee is looking for more than just salary rises and pension contributions; your employee benefits packages are what can help you stand out from the competition and can be a highly effective acquisition and engagement tool.
A robust employee benefits scheme is more than just a nice to have. It can boost employee engagement levels and harness a complete wellness strategy within your business. It can showcase to your employees that you genuinely care about their wellbeing and can play a major role in retaining talent.
What is the best definition of an employee benefits scheme?
Quite simply, employee benefits are additional incentives provided by employers in addition to an employee’s salary or wages. They can come in all shapes and sizes, from flexible working hours to gift cards to complimentary meals out. Although they offer several advantages to both employees and employers (as we explore below), the main purpose behind them is to increase employee satisfaction.
Some employee benefits can be classed as ‘legally required’ but more and more companies are offering extra perks that are used to attract and retain staff. Having an attractive benefits proposition for potential new hires and increasing existing employee loyalty with a powerful employee benefits scheme can be both cost-effective and easy to set up.
"The job market, and therefore the employee benefits market, is constantly evolving. These days, finding the perfect job is about a lot more than the money."
– Gregory J Anton, Chairman AICPA Financial Literacy Commission
Overall, employee benefits are not just beneficial for employees; employers also profit by providing employee benefits. When an organisation provides company benefits, employers can recruit and retain the best employees, boost morale and improve company culture and benefit from a more productive workforce.
What is the purpose of employee benefits?
Employee benefits are beneficial to both employees and employers.
Employees are able to:
- Save money which helps add to their disposable income
- Improve their overall workplace health and wellbeing
- Maintain a better work-life balance and foster more satisfaction
Employers are able to:
- Recruit and retain the best employees
- Boost morale and improve company culture
- Benefit from a more productive workforce
In a whitepaper, a clear majority (77%) of employees across all ages and levels of seniority said they agreed with the claim that they want more benefits that help them cut the cost of their everyday life. Although a good wage is important, so are benefits. By adding employee benefits to an organisation, it can increase loyalty, focus and productivity, attendance and optimise recruiting efforts.
Employee benefits aren’t just about serving the employees, they can also be extremely beneficial for employee loyalty:
- 60% of employees said having a benefits package is important to their employer loyalty
- 72% of employees said that the ability to customise benefits increases their loyalty
- 36% of employees said improving their benefits package would keep them in their job
The advantages of offering an employee benefits scheme
Today’s employment market is forcing companies to embrace increasingly competitive salaries to attract the best workers. Nonetheless, this is not the only part of the equation -- business owners who pair competitive salaries with robust employee benefits package offerings (e.g., medical insurance, along with vision and dental benefits) continue to attract more job applicants.
The Aflac Workforce Report found that 60% of employees would take a job with lower pay but better benefits, while 16% said they had left a job or turned down a job in the prior 12 months due to the benefits offered. Additionally, 42% of employees said employers making improvements to their benefits would be something positive they could do to keep them in their jobs. Employers that offer strong benefits programmes paired with competitive salaries find it easier to recruit and retain employees.
"There is a huge gulf between what employers and employees think about benefits and a lack of understanding on both sides on the value of employee benefits. Neither side should lose sight of the central role they play in the working life When you consider the central role they play as a recruitment and retention tool of today.
Employers should take time to ensure the benefits package they are offering is one that resonates with their employees, and staff members should ensure they benefit as much as possible from what is on offer in their own specific workplace."
- Tom Gaynor, MetLife UK
The research supporting the theory that implementing an employee benefits scheme is vital for business success is overwhelming.
Canada Life Group showed that 26% of UK employees don’t receive workplace benefits from their employer. However, businesses that do offer them say that their employee benefits schemes help them in several ways:
- Easier recruitment
- Improved employee retention
- Faster progress towards company business goals
- Positive word of mouth
"24% of employees believe that a good benefits package would improve their perception of a company."
Employee benefits scheme ideas.
There are various examples of the type benefits and bonuses companies have deployed over time to ensure their employees are happy and cared for.
Business owners, large and small, who build in the option for employees to customise specific elements of their employee benefits packages empower their team members to manage and control their health in a better way.
Whether it is a new business just getting up and running or a seasoned company that has been in operation for many years, the advantages outweigh the risks when it comes to offering employee benefits. These benefits are integral in attracting and retaining the right employees and talent, leading to new business opportunities that benefit everyone.
Celebrating your teams’ successes, providing a range of employee benefits, and collaborating on ideas and projects can all contribute towards higher employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction can be simpler to achieve when focusing on this key aspect - that employees are human beings who want to be treated as such. Treating your teams with respect and showing them that they matter can go a long way in managing workplace stress and improving personal wellbeing on an employee level. On a company level, it can play a part in higher productivity and increased attention to detail, not to mention less employee turnover.
Employee benefits can be a huge driver in boosting morale. Happy and satisfied employees are more likely to work more efficiently, be more productive and take fewer sick days.
Benefits can range anywhere from healthcare to a daily lunch service to flexible working policies; employees are increasingly valuing initiatives that make their work environment more pleasant and flexible over higher pay grades.
The key is to ensure that your rewards and incentives are appropriate for your employees, and to understand that their needs and wishes change as they age and progress in their careers and personal lives. So, whilst certain benefits might seem universally appealing from an HR point of view, the reality for employees can be quite different. For example, when asked which factors affect staff acquisition, 69% of HR professionals felt that private healthcare schemes were a strong factor. But only 47% of employees agreed that it was a strong factor in their decision to work for a company. On the other hand, both sides broadly agree on the importance of on-the-spot rewards like gift cards or pre-paid shopping cards (52% of employees vs 57% of HR leaders).
The time and effort it can take companies to put these steps in place is minimal compared to correcting the effects of brewing negativity. To this end, measures to improve employees’ morale is not just an option, but a complete necessity for company strategy.
Cyclescheme is the UK’s most popular cycle to work benefit. It allows your employees to save 25% - 39% on a new bike and accessories and spread the cost via salary sacrifice Employees have access to any bike they want, with a choice of over 2000 retailers to claim the scheme at.
With a behaviour change programme like Cyclescheme, you can nudge your employees to get into cycling and improve their overall health and fitness, whilst also allowing those commuting to the office a safer alternative than public transport.
Cyclescheme is a total cycle-to-work solution, it's who we are and what we do. Because of this we've gone the extra-mile with every aspect of our scheme design and service to offer an intuitive user experience with minimal admin.
What are the advantages of Cyclescheme?
- Free marketing portal with customised posters
- Free events support for all employers
- Freedom to ride - schemes over £1,000
- Weekly, monthly and seasonal sales and offers
- Save-on-sale retailers - employees save twice
- Easy to access finance option available
Techscheme is the UK’s most desirable technology benefit and lets employees get the latest tech from Apple or Currys PC World, through their employers. By spreading the cost across 12 payments from their salary, employees can own the products from the beginning and save between 2-12% on their purchases.
Even better, the scheme is not limited to just employees. Employees can also buy the latest tech for friends and family which provides a great option to buy those all-important birthday or Christmas gifts.
The scheme can hold a lot of value for employees who need a proper set up when working from home, or even noise-cancelling headphones to block out unnecessary distractions!
What are the advantages of Techscheme?
- It is relevant, your staff love it and are more loyal
- It upskills your workforce, increasing creativity and productivity
- Simple to set up and easy to manage
bYond Card is a prepaid shopping card, that helps your employees’ pay go further. As a dedicated card for their everyday shopping needs, it acts a handy budgeting tool, while earning the cardholder money back every time it's used.
Available to use at a vast network of selected retailers, bYond can be a great way to allow employees to gain between 3% and 15% rebate on purchases. As a flexible benefit, employees can either top up their account manually, or they can sign up to have a chosen amount paid onto the card from their salary on a monthly basis.
56% of cardholders agreed that their card made them feel valued, loyal or engaged with their employer*
The initiative covers a majority of retail categories, promoting choice for the cardholder, such as:
- Food retailers
- Dining out,
*889 Cardholders surveyed
What are the advantages of bYond Card?
With a wide network of retailers, bYond allows your staff to:
- Be flexible and creative in how and where they want to spend allowing your teams to have flexibility on where to spend
- Choose what they spend and how much
- Feel more appreciated as they can choose purchases of their own liking
Talking with an employee benefits specialist to learn more about the benefits packages and results your business is committed to providing can support you in creating a strategy that is not just geared towards a short-term solution, but for the long-term.
Want to discuss how employee benefits can support your workforce’s wellbeing? Fill in the contact form on your right and we’ll be in touch to chat about the ways we can support you in implementing your employee benefits scheme.