Employee benefits are coming under increasing scrutiny as businesses evaluate how to ensure staff benefits deliver ROI. Among other things, the return on investment includes higher staff retention, increased productivity, and a lower bill for staff absence.
But when you get it wrong, employee benefits can be a wasteful drain on resources. Getting the desired results depends on how engaged your employees are with the benefits you offer.
So how do you choose the benefits that staff really want, rather than investing in perks that just aren’t appreciated? Here are a few tips.
Broad strokes staff benefits schemes no longer work
Tailoring employee benefits is the most effective approach for today’s diverse workforces. It stands to reason that benefits like pensions are less likely to interest younger staff than those who are closer to retirement. It’s time for HR to use a different approach, as one size fits all is no longer appropriate.
A study by PwC highlights how different packages appeal to different employee demographics. The research revealed that men and women, and older and younger staff are poles apart when it comes to perks.
Less than a quarter (24%) of men valued medical insurance highly, while almost a third of women rated it among their top two workplace benefits.
And men are more likely to value a company car – 29% said it would be the perk they’d most like to see introduced compared to just 21% of women.
There were generational differences, too. For instance, gym membership was more popular among younger staff members. One in five employees aged between 20-30 named gym membership among their top three benefits, yet just 13% of staff aged in their 50s agreed.
The best way to ensure that the benefits you offer are valued by everyone is to go the extra mile to understand your workers, tailoring perks around individual preferences. In fact, a report by Mercer found that over a third (36%) of businesses actually saved money by having a flexible benefits scheme.
Bridging the gap between HR and staff
Think you know what your workers want? Researchfrom Jobsite says most HR leaders are way off the mark when it comes to choosing staff benefits.
While 62% rated their benefits package as either “very good” or “quite good”, only 47% of staff agreed. This means there’s quite a gap between how HR perceives their benefits package, and how it’s actually received.
For example, lower value benefits such as office-based perks and social events may be welcomed with much less enthusiasm than HR decision-makers like to believe.
Aligning benefits to employees’ wants and needs means listening to your staff – by incorporating it into their annual review, for example.
Often when staff are not making the most of perks, it’s because they don’t fully understand what’s on offer, or they don’t realise the value of the benefits. Communicating with staff can positively influence how employee benefits are received.
Get rid of the gimmicks
Recruiter Michael Page carried out a survey that shows employees are no fools when it comes to staff benefits. Most staff (70%) recognise that workplace perks such as massages are nothing more than a “gimmick”. The likes of ping-pong tables and nap rooms may seem like a good choice for attracting talented Millennials, but in the long-term such benefits do not have lasting value.
Some of the most popular workplace benefits include:
- Company car
- Flexible working
- Company shares
- Gym membership
Top Tips to ensure staff satisfaction
HR professionals are under increased pressure to make sure employee benefits are serving both the business and its workforce. However, the Michael Page survey found that just 20% of UK consumers say that they’re satisfied with their current benefits package.
While the bottom line for staff is the salary, of course, benefits are the icing on the cake that may mean the difference between retaining staff or losing out to a competitor.
Make sure you get it right by offering flexible packages, clearly communicating what’s on offer and using technology such as analytics to help you personalise packages – as well as finding out what perks your competitors are offering.
These tips will help you stay on track:
- Listen to how staff are responding to your benefits package. This can include surveys and focus groups.
- Tailor benefits to your workforce, bearing in mind that different demographics will influence their priorities.
- Consider offering flexible benefits packages.
- Regularly communicate benefits to staff – you may find that they’re received more positively when workers are better informed about what’s on offer.
- Forget about gimmicks. Staff want real, practical benefits.
Are you sure that your staff are satisfied with the benefits your organisation is offering? Roll out one of the UK’s most wanted benefits, subsidised gym membership.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.