The well-being of employees is now one of the most important issues on the business agenda. Not only does positive well-being promote productivity and employee retention, but it also results in lower levels of staff sickness and absenteeism, and is becoming increasingly important from a brand perspective. Here we look at the benefit of a good benefits package.
As the number of job vacancies from October to December 2021 rose to a new record of 1,247,000, an attractive benefits package on top of a competitive salary is going to be the way employers attract and retain the talent they need. A report by MetLife UK, which surveyed 1,200 employees and employers, found that half of employees would sacrifice part of their salary for more personalised employee benefits.
Three-quarters of employees said they would work harder for an employer that provided benefits to support individual needs, while just under four in 10 (39 per cent) workers also reported that if they intended to leave their current role within the next 12 months, having an employer that demonstrated more care for their mental well-being would encourage them to stay.
But however tempting it may be for employers to introduce a slew of new benefits, they need to bear in mind the cost implications and work out whether the new proposals are financially viable.
It is also important to consult with employees before introducing new benefits as they may not be what the workforce want or need. This will also help to ensure any new perks are fair and benefit the majority of the workforce. For example, some companies have introduced a ‘pawternity leave’ policy, entitling staff to a week’s paid leave when they welcome a new pet. However, such a policy may be perceived as unfair by those who can’t or don’t want to get a pet.
Before introducing new policies or making changes to existing ones, employers must also be clear about whether benefits are contractual or discretionary in nature. Contractual benefits usually require the business to commit to an ongoing cost, so employers should ask themselves whether this is affordable in the long term before committing.
HR should play its part when new policies and benefits are introduced as they should form part of the overall HR strategy. It’s common for employees not to understand what benefits package is available to them or what they entail. Consultation and communication are vital to ensure staff make full use of all that is available to them.
Clearly set out the terms of the new benefits and ensure this information is accessible by everyone. Think creatively about how to introduce them – perhaps a “staff champion” could be selected to discuss options with their teams, make presentations to staff and develop communications.
The MetLife UK study also found that financial protection was a key motivator for employees, with two-thirds reporting that they would prefer financial protection over ‘soft’ perks such as gym memberships.
However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ to employee benefits. If you are considering making changes, it is helpful to conduct a review of what you currently offer and ask your staff what they would value most. Look at how you provide and communicate these benefits as that will improve employee retention, engagement and overall well-being.
If you would like more in-depth guidance on introducing new benefits to your workplace, then contact our expert team.