When it comes attracting and retaining a productive workforce, employee benefits are often overlooked as a critical factor in attracting and keeping great employees (and making them happy and productive).
Money is the not the major factor it used to be when it comes to employee and potential employee career choice. Though it remains very important, more and more people are looking to employee benefits as critical parts of any package they receive from a company they are considering working for or work for.
Why should employee benefits be a priority?
As a business leader, you have a lot on your plate. However, here’s why there’s no valid reason for not adjusting employee benefits to match the latest trends/standards and how you’re missing out if you don’t:
- If you don’t offer current and future employees the benefits they want, you won’t be a preferred employer. That means not drawing top talent to your side, and your current star employees may more easily be swayed to leave by organisations who offer better benefits.
- Employee satisfaction is vital to maintaining productivity and office morale. What you offer your employees in benefits can seriously affect their happiness and thus productivity.
- If you fall behind in common types of benefits you offer, prospective employees may view you as being out of tune with their needs. This won’t do your public image well at all.
- You’ll find it difficult to onboard a new employee successfully if they’re not happy with the benefits or perks you can offer.
It’s not just business owners who need to take note and understand what employee benefits to offer, it is primarily the responsibility of your HR director and team. With this in mind here are some key points your human resources team should be on top before you roll out perks:
- HR managers need to research the market to inform superiors of what perks or benefits should be included in any employment package. Alongside this HR should also employee satisfaction and response to perks/benefits to identify which are working and which are not, you can do this with several types of HR software (Advance Systems, PeopleHR…).
- Employees should have access to a portal to communicate needs and benefit expectations to the HR team, so the HR team can properly understand what benefits employees/want and need (this also is helpful in generating new ideas and finding new employee benefits trends).
Key trends in employee benefits
So the question remains what do employees and prospective employees now expected in the form of employee benefits. The list below takes you through some of the key trends in employee benefits (also as you browse, you’ll see how technology is dramatically changing this niche and what’s required).
Personalisation is becoming more prevalent
The world is getting much more personal. Every service or product we buy is becoming more and personalised to our unique or not so unique requirements. The same can be said for employee benefits, where employees and prospective employees want HR solutions that fit their particular lifestyles. When your company allows for personalising a benefit scheme, you’ll be able to meet your staff needs better and attract prospective employees. This could be done by offering access to different products/services such as pet health insurance, legal advice, childcare, entertainment more.
Giving employees the option to manage their benefits also gives them a sense of empowerment and to a degree has been shown to increase positive feelings towards an organisation. Additionally, you could go one step further and provide employees with extra benefits if they achieve certain goals or engage in behaviours the organisation consider positive, i.e. an employee who takes a company driving course and then manages to increase fuel efficiency on a company car, could be given a reward based on their preference. This can be a great way for organisations to reward employees while minimising the cost to the organisation.
Reviewing voluntary benefit options
One benefit trend that is not slowing is providing your employees with access to discounts and deals at other providers. These types of benefits are generally agreed with providers/partner organisations (i.e. gym or restaurant discounts). Providers are often keen to agree on these deals and provide a discount without any payment from the organisation as they can refer large volumes of business from their large workforce. You won’t be paying for this, which is reason enough to consider incorporating it into your companies’ policies.
Unlimited PTO may disappear
Unlimited PTO (Paid Time Off) was a novel idea, surfacing somewhere before 2000 (no one is exactly sure when). While it makes sense that it can be beneficial and it saw some success it doesn’t always work. One example of the failure of unlimited PTO is that it has reduced the vacation time people take. In many cases, employees feel ashamed to break from routine without the clear safety of set vacation time (Yes, vacation shaming is a thing now). If they can’t manage the work-life balance on their own, workers can also face health problems. Therefore, many employers are switching back to more traditional thinking regarding providing vacation time and losing unlimited PTO from their benefits list.
Close and virtual healthcare
The health care industry changes all the time, and your benefits scheme needs to keep up. Offering access to a doctor and virtual consultations can be seen as a massive benefit for both parties (employee and organisation)
This is because your employees can opt for virtual career quickly visit a doctor work rather than wasting time travelling to external doctors and waiting around to be seen. This perk additionally reduces the number of sick days employees take off. Although a cost it’s a win-win for everyone (and often the cost is offset by the benefit).
That’s it for the major employee benefits trends for this year. While identifying and deploying the right benefits for your current and prospective workforce may be time-consuming and costly, there is no doubt the benefits of having competitive employee benefit perks is very necessary will only become more critical as the HR function and employee needs continue to evolve.