Are customisable benefits the key behind retaining your staff?

Employer advice

We’re all individuals. We have our own personal preferences, tastes, hobbies and even fashion sense. Yet this individuality can quickly disappear within a work environment when everyone is treated the same. It's no exception when it comes to benefits. Employers roll out benefit schemes that are universal, not personal which means that what might be great for one employee is redundant for another. So are your employees being offered what they deserve and want or does your benefit scheme need a touch of customisation?

Benefits are only benefits if they apply to you

There are many rewards that you can offer your workforce from the simple free fruit and drink and subsidised gym membership to the more unique such as Airbnb’s £1,413 travel allowance; the options are endless. No matter what you choose it’s important that you have a scheme in place. Over half of UK workers that Glassdoor surveyed admitted that a company’s benefits are one of the most important factors when looking to accept a role. Research found that over a quarter of Generation Z employees (18-24 year-olds) haven't been able to pay off credit card bills because they have outstanding company expenses unpaid by their employer, and 42% would move jobs if a company had a poor expenses policy. 

With so much emphasis placed upon benefits it is crucial for employers to offer benefits, but now it’s become even more important to be able to tailor those benefits to each employee. You may be thinking that this will be an expensive exercise and one that the budget won’t stretch to cover, however it doesn’t have to break the bank to add the personal touch. It could also save you money if it turns out the benefits you’re currently spending on aren’t being used or are unwanted by your employees. You might hear about the quirky off-the-wall benefits some companies provide with gaming company Smarkets employing full time chefs onsite in their London HQ so employees are catered for morning, noon and night and Brewdog who offer paid puppy leave, a scheme that allows new dog owners to take a week of paid holiday in order to help settle their new pet in. These schemes sound great but what about those employees who don’t benefit from them, like those who prefer to prepare their own food at home or those who have no desire to own a puppy? Such perks can be lost on some employees and therefore might as well not exist because they don’t provide any benefit to their work or home life and they end up missing out on something they never wanted. This could in turn lead to these members of staff feeling left out, unrewarded and possibly on the lookout for a role where the company offers more rewarding features.

Adding that personal touch

You can find out what your staff really want from their benefits package through focus groups and companywide surveys. With this data you will be able to work out whether your current scheme is working, what’s not and if you in fact need to completely transform your current offerings because these are redundant for your employees. This exercise will also help you find out whether you’re even communicating your benefits as there could be people working for you that didn’t even know about the perks you offer, let alone have an opinion on them.

Retaining and attracting through benefits

When thinking about personalising benefits it doesn’t mean that every employee is offered their own perks, it’s about understanding and knowing your workforce well enough that you can offer a range of rewards that will cater to everyone’s needs. Your culture and brand will also help you to build your benefits. Burton the snowboard manufacturer provide their employees with seasonal ski passes and snow days when fresh powder has covered the mountains and the Walt Disney Company offer free entry to all of their parks alongside generous discounts on hotels and merchandise – they are both catering to their culture and the people they’ve employed who are passionate about snow sports and the magic of Disney. When looking to hire remember to consider whether the candidate is the right fit for the company otherwise the benefits you offer may never be applicable to them which puts into question their appropriateness for the role and organisation. Adhering to your employees’ wants and providing benefits that actually do just that – benefit them – can increase retention as their wants are being met and the risk of moving somewhere else that doesn’t offer such personalised rewards is not worth taking. Through a personalised and culture related benefit scheme you can also increase candidate attraction from a pool who have the experience, skills, character and passions that are aligned to your organisation’s brand, mission, values and the employees who already work there.

The package of perks you can offer that won’t break the bank

  • Flexi-time
  • Working from home
  • Fresh fruit and other healthy snacks
  • Salary Sacrifices – Pension, childcare vouchers, discount scheme and development courses
  • Sponsorships for charity fundraisers
  • Walking and/or running clubs
  • Shared parental leave
  • Quarterly events for staff/ departments
  • Half day to give blood
  • Day off to help with a charity
  • 2 annual duvet days
  • Quarterly corporate desk massages