Popular workplace benefits, and how you can implement them

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Popular workplace benefits, and how you can implement them

The world of employee benefits is constantly evolving, which is why it comes as no shock that employers need to keep on top of trends. In recent years however, there are some benefits that have really stood out in the crowd more than many others, and with more than a third of employees admitting perks and benefits are amongst their top considerations before accepting a new job, it is something employers should really be investing in.

So which perks are really a cut above the rest when it comes to engaging your staff? And how do you go about implementing them? Here’s our rough guide:

Work Life Balance
This is a big one. Many employers in recent years have gotten on board with the idea of their employees having a great work-life balance, but in actual practice, with average working hours increasing and decreasing annual leave being on the rise, it seems that this important concept is something that we all still need to work harder to achieve.

Offering flexible working is just one way for employers to work towards this goal. Over half of UK workers currently work flexibly in some way, but one in four UK workers still overwork by ten hours a week or more and 68% would like to work flexibly in a way that is not currently available to them. Flexible working can have a positive effect on work-life balance, but it is of course important that employers put various other elements in place.

Other countries have really laid down the law when it comes to this too. It is a legal requirement for Swedes to be given 25 vacation days, and many large firms typically offer even more. Parents also get 480 days of paid parental leave to split between them. Most offices are empty after 5pm, similar to workplaces in France who introduced a strict 35-hour working week as a part of a labour law reform in February 2000.

Capped working hours and improved annual leave allowances can make a massive difference to how and when people work, meaning they often don’t allow work to interfere with home life.

Professional development and education
According to Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, the only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay. When it comes to development within the workplace, it is important to remember that not all employees have had the same educational opportunities and therefore should be given ample choice to pursue learning through their career. Companies like Booking.com have already taken significant steps to ensure team members are mentored one-to-one with managers tailoring next steps to suit both personal goals and business objectives, and Dropbox, in which an event called ‘Hack Week’ allows everyone time to work on skill development to further better themselves in their careers and lives.


Wellness initiatives
Offering wellness programmes to your employees is a very popular employee perk and more importantly can be implemented very easily. This could range from something as simple as offering healthy snack or lunch options to employees a couple of times a week, or allowing them to earn points through physical exercise that can be spent elsewhere. To take it a step further, employers have options such as offering wearable technology to their employees, on-site gym services and fitness or yoga classes, health workshops or even medical screenings. A survey conducted by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine found that 77% of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture, and 87% said they consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer. If this wasn’t enough, among the 22 different studies that have looked at employee wellness programs and healthcare costs, the average return on investment was 3.27, demonstrating the real world effectiveness of wellbeing benefits for both employer and employee.

Paid time off for volunteering
With the rising interest in Corporate Social Responsibility, more employers are allowing paid time off for staff to volunteer for charities. Not only does this help others, but allows employees to harness skills they wouldn’t necessarily get in the workplace. Today, more and more companies are allowing this according to SHRM’s report, with 24% of companies currently offering this perk - up from 16% four years ago. At Personal Group, we wanted to create a lasting impact, get our hands dirty, and make a difference. This was the foundation for our partnership with The Memusi Foundation and, as part of that, bi-annually, groups of Personal Group employees travel to Kenya to actively work to change the lives of children by giving them an education they may not have had otherwise.  

Not just casual Friday
A simple but effective and very popular perk for staff is a dress code – or lack of one in this case. Unless you operate in a sector where suits or a uniform are required, in the modern world, a strict dress code simply isn’t necessary. For employees who work behind the scenes, working can be much more pleasant if they are allowed to work in everyday clothes. Supposedly 50% of HR representatives say they follow a casual dress code where they work, and according to Livestrong, employees will find themselves more comfortable in casual clothing, especially in a setting where they feel like their attire won’t be scrutinised or measured against what others are wearing. Other benefits include boosted morale, less financial strain on employees to buy more clothes, and improved self-esteem throughout the business.

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