There is an increasingly wide range of employee benefits that employers offer to their staff. Some are generic, some are more sector or business specific and there is not a one size fits all approach. The attraction of different benefits will even vary from employee to employee, so offering a suite of benefits that employees can pick and mix and then bring together under one integrated service is ideal and something that is advocated by The Institute of Directors in a recent article.
What are employee benefits?
Most of us have heard the phrase, “employee benefits”, but do we really understand what it means? The CIPD define employee benefits as, “the perks an employer offers to attract and retain employees, contribute towards improving well-being and enhancing staff engagement”.
Of the myriad of benefits out there what should employers offer? Here our top 6 workplace benefits we think you should be implementing for your staff:
All UK employers are legally obliged to offer employees a workplace pension scheme and this is usually done via what is known as automatic enrolment when a new starter joins a business. There are some eligibility criteria so not everyone has to be auto enrolled into a scheme and employees can opt out. Pensions are a great way of saving for your future retirement. At present employers pay a minimum 3% contribution and employees pay 5%. However, some employers pay more and this can be attractive to staff. Pensions are heavily regulated and employees wanting to find out more about their pension should contact the pension provider. They can also seek independent financial advice to decide what is best for their individual circumstances.
Annual leave entitlement
There is a legal entitlement in the UK to statutory paid annual leave of 5.6 weeks. An employee’s contract will provide details to confirm this and any specific arrangements for bank holidays or for part time workers. Employers can choose though to give employees more annual leave than the statutory minimum if they wish. This can be used as an attractive benefit to staff. Some employers will give additional days of annual leave entitlement. This can be based on length of service or an extra day of leave for their birthday.
Flexible working hours
According to figures from HR Review in November 2022, 26% of workers said that they would prefer their working hours to be fully flexible. The change in flexibility of working hours was largely driven by the pandemic. Many employees have grown used to working this way. This is because it helps to provide them with a better work life balance. A number of employers are also now reviewing or even implementing a 4 day working week. The government is due to pass into law early in 2023 increased rights around requesting flexible working arrangements. Therefore, employers should look at what flexibility they currently offer as it is an area of benefits that is rapidly gaining significance for employees and those searching for a new role.
The Workplace Health Report: 2022 revealed that 33% of employees reported moderate to high, or high levels of stress. Wellness programmes are therefore important to support employees who may be stressed and to offer support in preventing employees from becoming stressed. These types of programmes vary in their offerings. Some are quite simple and offer just telephone support, whereas others include video content, counselling, apps and more.
When employers think about healthcare plans they often think of contribution schemes. This is where employees pay a set amount each month and then claim money back for dental or eye care. These plans have been revolutionised in recent years with the use of technology. Employees who use them can now get access to online GP appointments, record their health in various ways including smart watches and fitness trackers. They can even gain rewards if they hit certain targets through the plan. Some employers will ask employees for a financial contribution to these plans. This is particularly so if the employee wants to include their family in the plan but they are often seen as valuable benefit to implement in some form.
Working from home
ONS data from 8 May 2022 shows that 38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point over the previous seven days. What started out as a necessity for many during the pandemic has become part of normal working life. Employees value the option to work for at least part of their working week from home. Again it assists them in achieving a positive work life balance, reduces commuting costs and can also help employers to reduce their spend on overheads. Not all businesses can accommodate working from home but for those who can it is worth offering.
Other workplace benefits
This list couldn’t possibly be exhaustive and there are numerous other benefits that employers may wish to consider investing in. These can include regular team get togethers, funded training and qualifications, death in service schemes and more.
It is really important that employers engage with their people and find out what benefits their staff are interested in. This is so anything they put in place is relevant and not a waste of time and money. The CIPD Reward Management Survey 2022 also found that just 57% of respondents said that their employer had told them about the benefits on offer so make sure to shout about what is available.
How can HRX help with workplace benefits?
The HRX Software can help in many ways with your workplace benefits. For example, it allows you to effectively management annual leave entitlement in just a couple of clicks. Get instant information, documents and forms in the Knowledge Base for benefits like flexible working and you can track and report on uptake on wellbeing programs in the employee benefits section on your dashboard.