In a hiring market fraught with uncertainty and talent scarcity, an enticing employee benefits programme can be key to securing top talent. However, events of the past 12-months have resulted in a blurring of the line between what constitutes a workplace perk and what is considered standard practice by prospective and existing employees.
Online employment marketplace SEEK recently released stats from a work perks survey of job seekers with some interesting results. According to the survey, the top perks on offer in New Zealand in 2021 are now considered to be standard practice as opposed to genuine “perks”. These include an active learning and development programme, flexible working arrangements (hours and location), mental health support, and a car park. Most of which are arguably things that would have been considered “nice to haves” not that long ago.
The jury’s out on just how much influence an employee benefits programme can have on a candidate’s decision whether or not to accept a job offer. Based on real life experience working within executive recruitment for 10+ years, we’d say it’s a significant contributing factor. And for existing employees, the stats suggest that the majority would choose additional employee benefits over a pay raise – so long as those benefits are something that has meaning to the individual.
In some cases, perks and benefits can be the trade-off for salary. With potential employees deciding between a high-paying job and a slightly lower-paying job with more perks – real or perceived.
This is totally dependent on the sector, role and individual. For example, if you are in the tech space or a creative sector then ‘Google-esk’ type perks – lunches, massages, on site acupuncture – may be attractive to your workforce. Alternatively, if the role or business provides a certain level of challenge or opportunity for the individual, then this could be seen as an attractive benefit. For some, working for an innovative and agile organisation that doesn’t follow the status quo of day-to-day business means they can capitalise on opportunities to make a real difference in their work.
With that in mind, what employee benefits and perks give you the highest value?
For many, the most-valued benefits are ones that offer the individual flexibility and improve their work-life balance, for example extended (paid) leave, flexible working schedules (hours and location). Increasing in popularity are health and wellbeing related benefits, for example health insurance and workplace flu vaccinations. Assistance with professional development either financial or flexibility in work schedules can also be attractive. Of course, competitive remuneration (salary and performance) needs to be considered however it doesn’t necessarily mean the highest salary, simply that the individual is recognised and feels valued and appreciated for what they do.
Perks can be categorised as benefits that don’t directly benefit an individual’s lifestyle or finances but may contribute to overall job satisfaction. Discounts and freebies are popular and can include anything from free barista coffees through to free lunches and offering (your) products at little to no cost. There’s a wider wellbeing element here, so access to healthy meals is more beneficial than free sausage rolls. Other perks to consider are volunteer time off (paid), access to onsite services (such as a gym), and discounted travel options (reduced public transport, car parking).
Not sure what benefits or perks are most important to your team? The easiest way to answer that question is to ask. A strong employee benefits programme may be the driver to attracting and retaining key talent in your business.
If you need advice and guidance on creating a winning employee benefits programme for your business, get in touch with us today.
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