It is key to provide employees with enough incentive to view your business as one they want to work for, as well as maximising their productivity within it. While there are different ways to accomplish this, offering your employees benefits that go beyond the legal requirements is one of the most effective ways to do so.
People tend to look at an overall package rather than just the base salary when making decisions about changing jobs. Remaining competitive is important for any employer, but remaining relevant is equally as important. In recent years, employee benefits have become more diverse, perhaps even strange, with some companies offering perks such as egg freezing and bringing pets to work. Yet, it would appear that the traditional benefits, such as healthcare and pension contribution still top employees’ wish lists.
Benenden recently conducted a study of more than 2,000 people in either full or part time work, which found the top valued benefit was paid-for healthcare, with a fifth (21%) choosing this as their top benefit. This was closely followed by a company pension (19%) and a monetary bonus (10%).
Not only do employees most want healthcare as part of their benefits package, 43% think that it is their employers’ responsibility to provide a healthcare offering. The reality is that 76% do not currently have this benefit, but of those who do have a healthcare offering, 78% value this benefit highly.
Healthcare is viewed as hugely important by the vast majority of employees. We all see regular media reports on how the NHS is struggling and, coupled with an aging population, people’s health is a growing concern. Most of us have experienced ill health either personally or amongst our friends and family so we know how debilitating it can be. Working for an employer who recognises that and provides support through a benefits package, can put people's mind at ease and contribute to their engagement with the organisation.
In addition, it is important for employers to know what benefits their staff want. However, it is key to recognise that this varies due a variety of factors such as age, gender and position within the company.
Age is the biggest differentiator when it comes to how benefits are valued. Take for example younger employees. They are less likely to be interested in making high pension contributions that they will not benefit from for another 40 years or so. The younger generation are more concerned with an increased training and development budget or benefits they can utilise immediately such as a gym membership.
Our research mirrored this and found that whilst 8% of 18-24 year olds value a gym membership as part of their benefits package, only 1% of employees 55+ feel the same. It's common sense when you think about it, but it stresses the importance of being able to flex your offering so you remain relevant to all employees.
Employers need be thoughtful about what benefits they offer and to what extent you can offer flexibility and choice in order to attract the strongest candidates whilst maintaining a valued and happy workforce. The more traditional benefits such as healthcare packages, pension schemes and bonuses are clearly still the most valued, but it is important to remember that these may not rank as highly on one employee’s agenda as another. Employers should therefore look towards a broad benefits package that offers flexibility and choice.