You can offer a fantastic benefits package but if it is not what your employees are looking for then it’s value quickly diminishes. This is also true for talent you are trying to attract to your business. When recruiting, promoting the benefits of your organisation, and more specifically, the right benefits, could make all the difference. In fact, nearly two-thirds of working adults surveyed by Michael Page believe that ‘organisations invest in expensive benefits that employees neither want, need or use’.
What do employees value most?
According to a survey by Michael Page in 2017, the top five benefits valued by employees are:
- Flexible working hours (71%)
- Work-from-home options (55%)
- Unlimited paid holiday (46%)
- Company car or subsidised travel (43%)
- Weekly free lunches (41%)
Compare this with the top benefits on offer and you can why there is often a mismatch between what employees want and what employers offer:
- Flexible working hours (62%)
- Higher/further education loan or paying for professional qualifications (56%)
- Company device policies (e.g. mobile/tablet/BYOD) (52%)
- Work-from-home options (49%)
- Company car or subsidised/free transportation (45%)
What do your employees value most?
The answer to this is simple: Ask them! External survey data is certainly helpful is setting the scene for what employees would like but the only way to know for sure what your employees’ value is by engaging with them.
How often are your employees asked what benefits they actually want? Are they even using the ones on offer? Is this a question asked in the recruitment process? What benefits would candidates look for?
The research from Michael Page indicates a strong preference for benefits that help to manage the work-life balance: Flexible working, working from home and unlimited holiday. What benefits do your employees want to better manage their work-life balance? Flexible working is a term that is used a lot but only by speaking with your employees can you be clear on what it means to them.
Should it be one size fits all?
Benefits like flexible working are most effective when embedded throughout the organisation and become part of the culture of the organisation. But not all benefits will have the same appeal to your employees. A company car or subsidised travel won’t have nearly as much attraction to an employee living locally compared with an employee who has a long commute in the morning.
Don’t overcomplicate it
Once you know what your employees are looking for – don’t overcomplicate it. Be clear on what the benefit means to them and how they can access it. A staggering 82% of respondents to the Michael Page survey felt businesses ‘over-complicate employee benefits by making them difficult to use or to understand.’
Promote your benefits
This is particularly important in the recruitment process. So many organisations fail to include or articulate their benefits in job adverts, but this is an important factor for candidates. If you offer flexible working, highlight it in your recruitment advertising and on your website. And be clear on what exactly that means. Testimonials from existing employees on how they use benefits can also be a great way to highlight what you are offering.
What you offer in benefits is an extension of who you are as a company so be clear on what employees – new and existing – can expect.
With 73% of respondents stating benefits play a role in their decision to turn down a job, businesses cannot afford to overlook the value of employee benefits.
 8 in 10 Brits think businesses over-complicate workplace benefits, Michael Page, https://www.michaelpage.co.uk/news-and-research-centre/media-releases/workplace-benefits