As your business scales, you’re now starting to consider purchasing benefits for your employees. You know that 21st century teams aren’t only looking for increases in salary, they’re looking for something more than that: they want to feel like their employer cares about them.
If we’re going to be honest about it, it sounds like a headache. At least with wages, you know exactly how to do and what to take into account. But how can you show your employees you care about them, attract and retain the best talent out there, and have happier and more productive employees, while not spending so much time, effort and money that it puts too much strain on you and your HR team?
The best solution for most companies is to offer some sort of benefits package. But what do you need to take notice of when buying your first employee benefit? And how can you make sure you’re buying something that your people will love, and more importantly, use? We’ve gathered some of our favourite tips and tricks to get you going on this exciting journey.
1. Learn about what employees are interested in
Did you know that the three most valued benefits by employees are contributory pension schemes, health insurance and life insurance? These seemingly ‘boring’ add-ons to their salaries are actually incredibly desirable, even though they’re not as shiny and exciting as other benefits you might find.
Of course, these are just some general stats. They don’t necessarily mean that your employees specifically want them (which we’ll come back to in a second), but they’re a very good place to start when you look into your first benefit. Do the research as much as you can, and see what you think your type of business will benefit from the most.
2. Decide what type of benefit you want to offer
The employee benefits market is booming, and there are so many options to choose from. In order to get our heads around it, we like to split them into 3 main categories: financial benefits, wellbeing benefits, and rewards.
Financial benefits include pensions, insurance, workplace loans and share option schemes. Wellbeing benefits would be gym memberships, wellbeing programmes, and free food. Rewards include discounts, free season tickets or sales on site.
Some benefits can fall into multiple categories: for example, cycle-to-work schemes are both a wellbeing and a financial benefit. You want to think about what’s important to your business and to your employees, and what type of benefit would cause you the least hassle.
Bonus Tip: How to pick a benefits category for your business
Wellbeing benefits are great because, as we all know, taking care of your employees’ health would mean better results for your business. But at the same time, health can be seen as a chore, and there’s a lack of engagement that comes along with some benefits in this category. 24% of corporate gym memberships, for example, don’t get used at all - so you’ll be paying a lot for something not all of your employees will take part in.
Rewards are a fun way to make your employees feel appreciated - who doesn’t want to go to the cinema for half the price? But when it comes to providing some added benefit to your business, they fall short.
Financial benefits, as we’ve already mentioned, are usually the most valued benefits by employees - but they’re not as eye-catching and exciting as other types of benefits. Another issue with financial benefits is that they mostly deal with planning for the future or unforeseen circumstances, which is not only depressing, but can also mean that your employees are disengaged with it or even forget they have it in the first place. Our advice is to offer a benefit your employees will appreciate every day.
yulife has the best of all three - it provides life insurance (a financial benefit that’s the third most valued type of benefit), and a wellbeing app that rewards its members for walking and meditating. So not only will your employees be protected for the future, but also by taking care of their health, they’ll be rewarded with gift cards from brands like Amazon and ASOS, and earn air miles through Avios.
3. Provide a tangible benefit, for you and for your employees
When considering your first benefit to offer your employees, we recommend sticking to a programme that will grant tangible results both for your employees and for your business. That way, you can work out how well your new benefit is doing in the long run, as well as giving your employees something meaningful to participate in.
Not having a tangible benefit that you can either hold in your hand or quantify in your head is why we think benefits like financial education and advice or employee assistance programmes were so low on the list of valued benefits. We suggest keeping that in mind, especially if you want to trial a benefit first, before setting up a full benefits scheme.
4. Pick a benefit that’s focused on engagement
There are some great niche benefits out there, don’t get us wrong. And if you have a relatively small team right now, and they’re all super into the same thing, you might lean towards a benefit that relates to that commonality.
However, as your business grows, you’ll start employing new people, who may or may not appreciate that shared hobby. Because benefits programmes are built to last, it could be worthwhile to consider your future employees, as well as your current ones.
The point is, you want something that will stick. You want a conversation going, something that will impact your office culture massively - and not just something a few people will absolutely love, and the rest won’t use at all.
In order to get that right, try to find employee perks that are built around engagement. We live in the digital age, so it’s quite common for companies to provide you with usage stats, host onboarding sessions that will enthuse your team, and do everything in their power to track and fix engagement when needed. In that respect, it would be helpful to choose a benefit that has an app, or one that involves technology in its process.
You can also try to find a benefit that will help your company culture (which can only be done if a good chunk of your employees uses the benefit). After all, the last thing you need is to pay for something your employees will only glance over once and forget about later. Try to get the most bang for your buck as you possibly can.
5. Listen to your employees’ feedback
This is one of the most - if not the most - important part of this blog post. Before you decide which perk will get your approval, why not ask your employees what they’re looking for? It can be a general survey about what they feel is missing in your company, or a more specific questionnaire with the best benefits you found. Either way, just take note of what your employees are interested in.
Yeah, we know - you have a lot of great, highly opinionated employees who might not agree about what they need. Try to find a benefit that provides variety - but also personalisation.
It doesn’t end there. Once you’ve purchased your benefit, make sure to ask for and listen to your team’s feedback about it. What do they like about it? What can be improved? Can the benefits programme accommodate that? If not, you may want to consider re-evaluating your chosen perk.
If your employees are as thrilled about their new benefit as you are, it may be good to ask them what they want to see next. It’s all about them - so make them feel like it!
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