With most offices shut over the past 12 months, ‘people perks’ like free fruit for breakfast and a ping pong table in the staff room are no longer so alluring. Companies are having to rethink the benefits they are offering employees for a remote working, stability-conscious world.
Today’s staff don’t want novelty extras – they want meaningful initiatives that show their employer cares. And creating the right package is pivotal to organisations attracting and retaining the strongest talent.
If you’re thinking of reconfiguring your employee benefits, here are 8 ideas to consider that will help you build a supportive, engaging company culture...
There was already a movement towards greater workplace flexibility before 2020, and the global pandemic has accelerated this trend at a rate the professional world could never have foreseen. But as we mentioned in a previous blog post, employees risk burnout if a flexible approach isn’t managed properly.
True flexibility means giving employees the opportunity to create a working set-up that fits with their lives, but still delivers on your expectations. For example, some of your team may want to shift their hours away from the standard 9-5; others might want to do compressed hours and take one day a week off.
Flexibility doesn’t just relate to time, either. For a lot of professionals, working from home during the past 12 months has vastly improved their quality of life. For these people, an arrangement where they can fully or partly do their role remotely can improve job satisfaction.
The transition from in-office to remote working has been good for many people’s productivity, but bad for their stress levels and step count. Without the daily commute or the chance to nip out to the shops for a sandwich, they are struggling to prioritise their physical and mental health.
As an employer, you can turn this problem into an engagement opportunity by building dedicated wellness time into your people perks package. Create a daily or weekly window where time is blocked out in staff diaries, for them to spend doing something that benefits their personal wellbeing – from going out for a run, to quiet meditation.
Many companies gave their staff a budget for team drinks and bonding activities when everyone worked under the same roof, but these kitties have dwindled since people started working from home. Reallocating these funds to the remote environment can boost employees’ moods and increase their commitment to your organisation.
You might want to give people a home office budget for example, to invest in the technology they need or put a new coat of paint on the wall. There’s even a start-up – Fleex – helping businesses to manage budget for this sort of activity. The happier your employees feel in the four walls that surround them, the harder they will work.
Helping employees to improve their home office is a great initiative, but companies still need to find ways to connect team members. Online workshops and classes are a great way to bring people together and build brand values.
These could be work-related opportunities – skills sharing sessions, expert talks or digital training courses – that help people improve their professional capabilities.
Or they could be fun events such as online bingo, home cocktail making classes or a virtual pub quiz, that help your workforce to let down their hair and get to know each other away from responsibilities and deadlines.
A good example of a digital social culture is fintech firm Klarna, which has held escape room challenges, cook-alongs, team drinks and yoga classes since the pandemic hit last March, to make employees feel part of the brand community.
One of the biggest challenges that employers have faced over the past 12 months is helping their workforce to manage time off. People with children or caring for shielding relatives may have used up their annual leave looking after others, while their colleagues may have been struggling with stress and burnout without feeling able to justify time off sick. Some organisations – like Zurich – resorted to ‘emergency lockdown leave’ to help their staff cope.
Duvet days are a hugely popular initiative in the USA, and now they’re gaining traction further afield. Offering your team a handful of days per year when they can take time out just because they feel like it enables staff to tap into what their mind and body need, without having to call in sick or use up their holiday entitlement. And it benefits your business too, as they return to work refreshed and reenergised.
We’ve mentioned the pressures of childcare already, and family life plays an increasingly influential role in why talented people choose to work for certain employers.
The pandemic highlighted the intense strain that parents are under, trying to bring up their children and develop their career simultaneously. Rather than seeing parental duties as a burden or distraction, forward-thinking businesses are going above and beyond the statutory minimum to offer team members greater financial and practical assistance.
Improvements to childcare support can start even before a baby is born; companies like Accenture are increasing paid parental leave beyond the statutory requirement, to help employees transition to life with (more) children.
Businesses are then putting further measures in place to support employees while they are raising children – from school hour/term time contracts and subsidised childcare, to installing on-sight creche facilities!
Not everyone in your business will have children, but many will have pets – which are just as important to them, and also need a lot of love and attention.
In recent years, we’ve seen a growing trend towards employers offering ‘pawternity leave’ when a team member welcomes a new furry friend to their family. Craft beer company Brewdog is one such organisation, giving people a week’s paid leave to help their new four-legged additions settle in.
The disruption caused by the global pandemic has shown people how easily life can be turned upside down, and why they can’t take anything for granted in 2021. For many employees, this fear has focused intensely on their health, and what happens if they are unable to work.
In order to attract, nurture and protect top talent, some companies are choosing to take out group insurance premiums, which support their workforce in the event of lost income, critical illness, or should the worst happen. Knowing there’s a safety net in place gives people peace of mind, and can be influential in their decision whether to stay in a role or move on.
Many of the initiatives we have discussed are not based on giving employees hugely expensive perks; if anything, time is a more precious commodity. And while time doesn’t cost you much on paper, it’s important that your business can coordinate wellbeing initiatives effectively, so something like time out for a run or a non-standard working day doesn’t impact deadlines.
In order to build a flexible, productive company culture, many businesses are turning to staff management software like WhosOffice to plan their weeks. Mapping out what hours everyone is working, who’s off on leave, and assigning core tasks enables you to build-in new perks without affecting business output.
And the bonus of an online shift planner is that your entire workforce can view it, so people will respect the schedule changes that each person has incorporated.
Combining professional and personal values to provide a better work/life balance will help your business to stand out in a competitive market, and attract the best new talent. And by giving them a package of meaningful, useful perks when they arrive, that talent is far likelier to stay with your business for a long time to come.
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Title: 8 employee perks that will attract and retain talent
Posted: Tuesday, 06th Apr 2021
By: Phil Cross
Direct link: https://www.whosoffice.com/blog/8-employee-perks-that-will-attract-and-retain-talent