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Blog : Does your benefit scheme really benefit your people?


Does your benefit scheme really benefit your people?

By Tom Goldfarb - Client Support

Each year our research continues to highlight that there are five key ways to engage and motivate your people; inspirational leadership; great communication; clear career path; learning and development and shared values with the employer. However these are often seen as intangible, therefore many great places to work supplement with employee benefit schemes covering anything from pension schemes, health insurance and company cars to subsidised gym membership, salary sacrifice programmes and childcare vouchers.

Talented individuals are nowadays looking at much more than base salary when job seeking. They want to join organisations which have a strong employer brand and where employees are valued. Combining the five motivational areas with original and clever, employee benefits can have a significant impact – even the make or break as to whether they join your business.

Take Google, renowned for its benefits package. They say: “When it comes to our benefits and perks, we have everything you’d expect from a large company, like health insurance, retirement benefits and so on. But we also offer way more than the basics. Our benefits are part of who we are, and they’re designed to take care of the whole you and keep you healthy, whether physically, emotionally, financially or socially.” So there are things like free breakfast, lunch and dinner, access to a 24-hour gym with a wide range of classes, in-house doctor and nutritionist, massage service and even a dry cleaners.  They live their mission through their values – making information universally accessible and useful – whilst no doubt ensuring the talented people they need to grow their business are attracted, engaged and retained.

Whilst not everyone can be as generous as Google, there are options for every size of business and budget. However and most importantly, like any employee engagement initiative, employee benefits should be focused on the individual, aligned to the values and culture and driven from the top.

If you are a smaller organisation, three ways you can implement benefits quickly and effectively is to:

·  Ask ‘what would make a difference your life and make us a better place to work and is realistic for us and our culture?’

·  Work out what is appropriate, feasible and aligned to your values; perhaps hold a focus group to iron out some ideas

·  Keep checking that any benefits are working for all parties, give people ownership of some activities or benefits.

And as mentioned, they don’t have to be expensive, fancy or farfetched. Keep it simple. Some good examples are:

·  Ensuring the employee fridge is well stocked with milk and fresh fruit is available

·  Team picnic once a month – it can be inside!

·  Mentoring, buddying and coaching

·  Team drinks on a Friday

·  Subsidised gym membership

·  0% interest travel loans

It’s vital though to ensure any scheme is providing an actual ‘benefit’ to the employee and as mentioned, aligned with your culture. For example, our ‘purple’ benefits are fun and give people the freedom to decide what they want to take up. (both fun and freedom are learnpurple values). Our most popular benefit, the one which is talked about, referred to and gives us a point of difference in recruitment,  is our ‘ministry of fun’ where a budget is given to organise and encourage all employees to participate in a monthly  social event. It is essential we are inclusive, and so we ask our people what they’d like to do and ensure that everyone’s individual interests are catered for during the year. So we’ve been bowling, to the cinema, ice skating, played bingo and had a cocktail competition amongst other activities. This benefit also fulfils our relationship, keep it simple and achievement values!

So, we’d recommend that if you only do three things…

1) Consult your people – ask them what they’d like

2) Introduce at least one visible benefit that reflects your culture and honestly explain why others can’t be implemented at that time

3) Be consistent and  communicate well; reminding your people they have access to your fantastic scheme

What values led benefit schemes could you implement?

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