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Employee Benefits: A Competitive Edge

  • by Career Moves HR
  • 21 Feb 2019

Within the candidate driven market, innovation in benefits is becoming a key driving force in attracting, and keeping sought-after professionals.

The traditional benefits systems no longer delivers employee needs across a company as the workforce continues to diversify. This diversification means that employee-needs will differ throughout the company. To balance this within the workspace, employers are increasingly introducing flexible benefits packages to ensure that they don’t lose quality candidates.

Benefits packages that are built from an in depth understanding of competitive opportunities within the market have a greater attraction rate. When benefit packages are utilised to promote a company’s brand and are representative of core values, such as companywide inclusivity, health, or reinvestment in employees, candidates are offered an insight into how the company values its employees before they begin working.

Due to the current skills shortages in the UK labour market, businesses are evolving their benefits packages beyond healthcare and pensions to create an employee-centric strategy that works to both attract and retain talented professionals.

Whilst the employment market maintains its strength and businesses continuing to grow and create vacancies, businesses are required to distinguish their brand and culture from their competitors. Benefits can become a deciding factor within a candidate’s decision making process when presented with similar positions and pay.

The provision of a strong and flexible benefits package that is tailored to improving employee engagement and loyalty with the provision of health benefits, assisting with day-to-day costs or training for future career progression, delivers a reward agenda that caters to each individual through strong communication.

Alongside improving overall company wellbeing, changing culture surrounding flexible working has seen a marked increase. As the UK labour market is moving towards increased autonomy among professionals, with 15% of the workforce employed through their own limited company, businesses are adapting to a new means of working with  employees as a step to retain permanent staff.

Here we have explored some of the popular trends we are witnessing in benefits packages.

Legally Required Benefits

Statutory employment rights, in light of illness, and family-related leave have to be provided to employees otherwise companies can face unfair dismissal cases.

Yet going beyond the standard available for employees can place a company a mark above the rest through investing more in the standard package. Although it seems simple, but demonstrating that staff are invested in as individual people, offering a day off on their birthday, or in December to complete Christmas shopping, displays clear lines of care for an employee and their life outside of work.

Health Care Benefits

Throughout the year we have also witnessed growth in wellness and personal development benefits presented alongside traditional packages. This industry shift is focused on ensuring the workforce are happier and healthier, ultimately leading to reduced sick days and increased productivity. This added commercial benefit is proving popular across industries as companies are able to reap the most out of employees, whilst ensuring that they are healthier in their position.

Healthcare benefits branch from gym memberships, to fruit in the office, and cycle-to-work schemes that focus on putting energy and motivation into staff members through encouraging healthy behaviours in and outside of the office.

These benefits are often popular among younger generations as it helps reduce the cost of living through reducing gym membership costs, and matches their conscientious health attitudes. Building team activities around the outdoors that invigorates the workforce to exit the office together can increase employee communication.

Pension and Retirement

Encouraging employees to adopt active decision-making surrounding their pension investments creates a more confident workforce later in life. Employers who offer generous benefits packages around pensions, with a high contributory percentage avoid a workforce that is money anxious later in their careers.

A higher pension contribution is often valued by older members of a workforce as settling into retirement becomes a more prominent priority, yet tends to be further back in the younger workers mind which is why it works excellently within a flexible benefits scheme.

Career Progression

These strategic approaches to elevating employee job satisfaction is becoming a primary retention tool for junior and senior candidates within a business. As HR leaders work to maximise return on investment within their benefits systems, training staff members is becoming a popular feature within a benefits package across generations.

Whether this is upskilling established professionals through teaching enhanced IT capabilities and ensuring that electronic innovation thrives throughout the business, or to ensure that younger generations are benefitting from a range of available soft and hard skills, employers that reinvest in their employees can look to retain more staff.

The industry has often had a concern with upskilling these members of staff in fear that the training will then disappear as the employee finds a new company to work for.

Unfortunately, this happens when communication is lacking between a staff member and their employer and it has not been articulated how the employee can feel valued within their role, be it increased salary with the increased training and value added to the company.

Expenses

As directors and senior members of staff are often in positions that require long working hours, valuing and appreciating their efforts is important to retain their support.

Often, progressive businesses are making changes to their benefits packages to include rewards such as takeaways if the individual is in the office beyond a certain amount, along with a cab home, to make sure that these members of staff are looked after during their time with the business.

Of course, expenses also work within junior positions, such as coffee with clients within business development, and team lunches following a successful quarter. It is necessary to evaluate the value returned from these rewards and used as an incentive for members newer to the workforce.

More frequently, businesses are including free food and canteens in their benefits packages. This works as a step to further integrate life with work and achieve a balanced routine, whilst reducing the cost of living, and creating a communal culture between employees. This communal culture can move towards improved personal and social wellbeing through the provision of healthy options, along with an available break space.

Public Transport Loans

Season ticket loans provided to employees can again decrease the cost of living through reducing the tax from their travel to and from work. Offering this benefit also highlights an employers associated value to an employee and their ability to arrive to work, whilst also making it home with less stress. Although these benefits may appear small, the subtle relationship then built on trust between employer and employee can assist those settle into a new working environment.

Technology

As Millennials and Generation Z have  grown with the ever-evolving world of modern technology, they have  an adaptable nature to the new products being released.

Forward-thinking environments that host technology which encourages work flexibility, faster communication, and better computing function across generations, through assisting those who are out of the office with constant access to emails, to increasing employee productivity through increased computing abilities.

Investing in technology to keep the working environment relatively up-to-date can be a deciding factor between those members that have always been brought up with the ever-evolving technology cycles that’s catered to demand over the years.

Flexible Working

Flexible working arrangements can improve productivity when utilised as a strategic tool within a benefits package. Part-time, compressed hours, mobile working, and career breaks, offers businesses higher individual and business performance through embracing a more diverse workforce, maintaining brand competitiveness, and increasing employee commitment to existing employees. 

Employee benefits cover a wide variety that can be selected and tailored to a suitable package for each individual worker. Companies that seek to motivate their diverse workforce through a considered benefits packages that provides interchangeable options, succeed through understanding their employees’ differing needs throughout their careers, and increase their employee loyalty.

Please call us on 0207 758 4300 to discuss any payroll and benefits opportunities or click here to view them online.

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