As the cost of living continues to rise and unemployment rates soar, employers are finding ways to reduce staff turnover, recruit staff and provide essential benefits to support employees.
Finding ways to support, recognise, motivate and engage employees is crucial. The support offered to employees may be the difference between retaining and losing staff to a more suitable environment.
Why is this important? Retention is crucial for businesses as the cost to hire new staff is extortionate. Studies have shown that replacing a new staff member can cost around £30K. With the cost of training, loss of output, recruitment cost and so on, retaining staff is in your best interests.
How can employee benefits help
Offering employee benefits is a significant factor in the recruitment process and when trying to retain staff. When choosing their next job, candidates look at hundreds of job adverts, all offering a similar position with similar pay.
Employee benefits can play a vital role in encouraging candidates to apply. Recent studies state that 60% of employees claim that employee benefits are essential when deciding on a new position. In comparison, 80% of employees say they’d rather receive benefits over a pay rise.
Employee benefits also play a crucial role when engaging and motivating staff. Proving benefits can make employees feel valued, leading to a more motivated and satisfied team. Ensuring staff are happy is essential when other attractive job opportunities are available.
With employee benefits playing such a prominent role in recruitment and retention, how do you determine what benefits your current and future employees need?
What benefits do employees want?
With the current economic climate in mind, employees’ benefit needs may have changed. As employees are affected by the rising cost of living, previously overlooked benefits may become significant or essential for current employees.
Some benefits are not only expected but also required in the UK. Benefits such as pensions, healthcare, sick pay and holiday pay are mandatory for eligible employees within the UK. Alongside the required benefits, employees should provide extra benefits to ensure employee satisfaction.
Overtime pay is a widely desired benefit for many employees; additionally, employees want flexible working hours and sponsored retirement plans. These benefits have been desired before the cost-of-living rises, showing how important they are for employee satisfaction.
Employers should consider physical, mental and financial wellness a potential benefit to employees as they can provide continuous support. Wellness packages can include gym memberships which can keep employees fit and positively impact employees’ mental health and productivity.
Other benefits, such as discount schemes, can also be significant for employees as they provide some financial relief.
Offering employee benefits is a way for companies to remain competitive; not every business can provide every employee benefit. However, if the provided benefits are appreciated by staff and improve your employee experience, they’re enough to keep you competitive.
Are the employee benefits you offer working?
When choosing what benefits you want to offer your employees, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Some employees may require benefits that reduce stress, whereas others may wish for more financial benefits.
Most businesses offer a standardised benefits package. To get the most out of benefits packages, employers must provide relevant benefits that will create a positive working environment. To discover employees’ needs, hold surveys and meetings; or consider a benefits package offering a range of benefits from which employees can choose.
When choosing employee benefits, consider demographics. Older employees do not want the same benefits as Gen-Z employees. When considering demographic-based benefits, you may find that health and wellness may become essential for more senior employees. In comparison, increased freedom and flexible working hours may cater for younger employees.
Some businesses can’t choose the best benefits for their employees; some small businesses may struggle to offer essential benefits. For smaller businesses, it is necessary to find some benefits for employees to remain competitive. Other benefits, such as quality communication and creating a culture of flexibility and recognition, can be as effective as other packages.
Some have stated that improving the employee experience is equally as effective at retaining staff as financial benefits for employees.
What is employee experience?
The employee experience encompasses everything experienced by an employee from their first day to their last. A positive employee experience is crucial for every business as it brings motivation, engagement and better performance. Employee benefits contribute to the overall experience but aren’t the be-all or end-all.
A recent article suggests that employee engagement directly connects to employee performance, with 73% of respondents feeling motivated by the company’s mission and values. This indicates that employees are likely to perform better if they engage with the company’s goals.
Although engagement can improve the employee experience, it’s not enough. A positive working experience requires a connection between colleagues. Over 60% of employees reported that reduced connection between colleagues is the main reason they feel burnt out. Connecting employees in a new hybrid world is challenging, but finding ways to connect employees can dramatically improve their experience.
More likely than not, your business will offer some benefits, but are all your employees using them? Communicating to your employees about benefits and how to use them is a great way to build a positive experience.
Communication between managers and employees can allow unnoticed issues to emerge. Employees struggling with finances or suffering from burnout can reach out. Addressing such issues can lead to employees receiving adequate support.
To provide the best employee experience, employers should meet employees’ needs. The best way to do that is by offering effective, relevant and valued benefits for your organisation.
What benefits do employees currently value the most?
When considering the most valuable benefits for employees, you have to communicate with staff and consider other external factors. Currently, it’s a given that many employees desire benefits that financially assist them, whether that be through discounts or access to a financial advisor.
Here are some key employee benefits that your employees are calling out for.
Financial benefits and financial well-being
With the rising cost of living, there’s no surprise that employees are reaching out and requesting more financial benefits from employers. More than 30% of employees state they would prefer a company that prioritises their financial well-being. There is a range of financial benefits that businesses can offer to help employees.
Caring for your employee’s financial well-being is essential now more than ever. There are a few ways you can do this. All employers must prioritise a fair wage for all employees and ensure they receive compensation for their performance.
Other financial well-being services such as financial calculators, financial education courses and access to financial advisors are vital benefits for employees. Providing education and expert help can reduce stress brought on by financial issues, which significantly affects motivation and performance.
Taking on board an employee discount scheme can provide employees with a tremendous financial benefit that helps with essential purchases and lifestyle spending. Most plans can reduce employees’ economic anxiety by stretching their disposable income and reducing spending on purchases such as food shopping, clothing and utility bills. Terryberry’s government-partnered scheme Help for Employees is an exclusive discount scheme offering everyday discounts on big brands such as Tesco, Primark, Vodafone, Halfords and much more.
One of the most popular financial employee benefits is salary sacrifice schemes. These initiatives help employees save money by giving or ‘sacrificing’ part of their salary in exchange for non-cash benefits.
Non-cash benefits offered by employers could range from cycle-to-work schemes to green car schemes. The main benefit of sacrificing part of your salary is the reduced national insurance contributions. Therefore, employees may bring in more each month due to reduced tax payments.
Physical and mental wellness
Over the last few years, employers have become increasingly aware of their employee’s mental health and how it can affect their performance. Mental health problems cost UK businesses up to £45 billion per year, and despite some efforts to support employees, most lack the support they need. There are many different mental health initiatives that businesses can take up to help employees in need.
One way to give struggling employees relief is by providing flexible working. Up to 76% of employees want to work somewhere that offers flexible working. The popular initiative works by allowing employees to work around their personal life. This is an excellent benefit for employees with children or those struggling with their mental health as it allows employees to work how and when it suits them.
Implementing flexible working keeps businesses competitive in the recruitment process and shows that they’re meeting the needs of their employees.
Mental health and wellness training
Most benefits surrounding mental health focus on working on a solution or offering support in the form of counselling; however, a company’s most useful benefit is a supportive culture. Creating a culture that supports one another and openly discusses mental health can be the best support for employees. An organisation can achieve this by offering training to the whole organisation. It creates a more understanding environment and demonstrates that you care for your employee’s well-being.
Employee assistant programme (EAP)
Employee assistant programmes are provided by employers and help employees with any personal problems that may impact their work performance or health. Many employers offer these programmes, however, most employees are unaware of EAPs or how they can help. If a situation affects an employee’s well-being or work life then EAPs offer assessment, counselling and referral services if required.
Equally as important is physical health. Physical health can also affect an employee’s mental health; it can reduce stress and improve mood whilst increasing employees’ productivity. Physical well-being and incentives don’t require employees to get in the gym 24/7; they include fun physical activities that keep employees active. There are many different health wellness schemes available to employers. Some offer health advice from expert professionals whilst others offer free workout content and fitness discounts.
To remain competitive when recruiting and successfully retaining staff, employers should actively look for ways to further support their employees by providing relevant and valuable benefits.
If you’re interested in learning about Terryberry’s 360 Recognition platform, contact us to schedule a demo. See how our streamlined platform encompasses employee benefits, social recognition, milestone rewards and barrier-free communication together.