Running a business can be all consuming and it’s easy to focus on the bottom line. Everyday tasks become run of the mill, including the benefits you offer your employees. Pensions, death in service and maybe their birthday off are all perfectly acceptable. But whilst thinking about how to look after your customers better and how they can be more engaged with your business offering, it’s worth considering how you can achieve the same with your employees.
Breaking the mould
Offering eye tests and a contribution towards glasses needed for work can benefit your employees, but it doesn’t cause excitement. And, moreover it’s not a benefit that will entice your best employees to stay, or for the best employees to join your business either. So what are other businesses doing?
- Holidays – Not an average holiday by any means, one company in Leeds offers sailing holidays to sunny locations. While another has a villa in Italy their employees can use for free.
- Childcare – One of the biggest challenges parents can face is juggling work hours with childcare, as well as the astronomical costs involved. Some businesses offer day care at their head offices and have arrangements with childcare providers close to their other offices to help.
- Spa services – An increasingly popular benefit, offering massages, manicures at your desk and onsite saunas provide a little bit of pampering and luxury, luring employees into the office.
- Working from home fund – For some, working from home never happens, for others it’s a frequent occurrence. One business offers their employees over £3000 to kit out their home office to help make working from home as easy as possible.
- Flexible working hours – Some people relish in the structure of a 9-5, Monday to Friday working week. But it doesn’t work for everyone which is why some businesses let employees chose their own working hours to increase productivity.
- Unlimited holiday – The majority of employees have a set holiday quota and employers may allow unpaid leave if more is required. However, some businesses entrust their employees and their managers with unlimited holiday, trusting that the job gets done without being policed.
- A year’s full pay maternity and paternity leave – Available to both full and part time workers, employees can take a year’s full paid leave and choose to work part time, flexible hours, or not at all.
- Student loan repayment – A constant thought for most graduates, student loans are typically over tens of thousands of pounds and one business is offering to pay £1,200 off their employees student loans for every year of employment to ease the burden.
- Bring your dog to work – Various studies have shown that bringing dogs to the office helps to reduce stress. Though thorough assessments need to be carried out of the dogs, and, other staff members’ health needs to be a priority, furry friends could relax your office environment.
- Joining bonus – Starting a new job can be an exciting time, but starting a job where you will get a £5000 joining bonus and then a £500 gift card every year thereafter is a very different experience and a huge benefit.
Budget friendly benefits
Whilst an onsite sauna and £5000 joining bonus might sound wonderful, they aren’t cheap! So, what benefits could you offer your employees that won’t break the bank?
- Free drinks – Toping up the office kitchen with a tub of instant coffee, tea bags and milk in the fridge need not be expensive and can help make for a comfortable office atmosphere.
- Bacon butty Friday – Bacon isn’t for everyone, but that’s not to say it’s the only option. Fresh fruit Friday and toasted sandwich Tuesdays, are just a few ideas to create a foodie buzz.
- Charity days – Allow your employees to take a day or two as paid leave if they wish to support a local charity or good cause. This benefit not only allows employees to get involved in the community, but could also expose your business to some positive free publicity.
- Relaxed dress code – There may be a need for an understanding of what kind of clothing can be worn to maintain a professional reputation, but not wearing a shirt and tie can have a large appeal to many workers.
- Equal benefits for all – Make your benefits available for all employees at all levels of the business, whether they work part or full time.
Making benefits work for your business
Reviewing all of these options could get the wheels of possibility going, but the biggest part not to forget, is your employees. Are the benefits you offer suitable for them? Are they able to utilise what you offer and get any value or benefit from them? For example, offering free childcare may be a great comfort to some of your employees, but it may alienate the remainder of the workforce. And, whilst you want to attract the best talent for your business, you don’t want people looking to join your business just for the benefits. Use benefits as a hook to get good employees and keep them happy. And make the business a great place to work, an anchor to get them to stay.
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