<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=416020905483495&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

In my role, I speak with candidates all day long and I can assure you that the War for Talent is truly on. As a prospective employer, you may be wondering how you can make yourself stand out amongst the crowd. Instead of touting a fast-paced work environment or a family dynamic in the office, focus on the benefits you offer – specifically the benefits that prospective hires are interested in and will truly benefit from. 

With 66% of HR leaders actively hiring, and 42% of employees likely to look for a new employer in the next year, the market has never been more competitive, particularly as the cost of living rises (and salaries don't follow suit). Organisations are looking to battle against their competition for unique ways to stand out in a competitive market and win the War for Talent. Some of these ways include:

  • Financial security
  • Fulfillment
  • Sense of purpose
  • Happiness

You have to ask yourself as an HR leader, how can I provide what people are seeking so that employee retention, productivity and wellbeing remain high? 

But what are these benefits? And how do you provide them? Consider offering employees these eight creative benefits.

1. Balanced benefits for WFH and flexible workers

remote employeeAs we continue adjusting to the workplace due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s clear just how important a flexible work environment is. While some employers can opt to let their employees work remotely as much as they want, an attractive benefit is to develop a competitive work from home bundle with money towards essential equipment, such as a laptop stand, upgraded chair and desk or a monitor. 

Remaining at a desk for eight hours is viewed as a relic of the past, and a YouGov study found that only 6% of UK workers still work these traditional hours. A progressive employer of choice for many people is one that actively offers flexibility and various work modes. This means allowing employees to work from home, permitting them to change their work hours depending upon need and making annual leave more accessible. 

Keep in mind, flexibility goes beyond where employees work, but includes how and when as well. This flexibility in the workplace helps people feel that they’re a part of something bigger, and that their work has meaning. Their lives matter beyond their output, which ups employee morale and wellbeing. 

Discover more ideas and insight into the next era of work in Reward Gateway's  new Reset Report »

2. Recognition and rewards

88% of HR leaders agree that attracting and retaining talent is critical. To manage unwanted turnover, consider increasing reward and recognition. 73% of employees planning to leave their current job reported that these benefits would make them stay. 

HR leaders are in agreement – 96% report that employee reward and recognition is vital to retaining employees. 

thank you festival signShowing your employees you care is a necessity. If you are an employer looking to inspire your team, you may be looking for some examples of employee rewards and recognition. Here are some ideas to help you show some love to those who work so hard for your company.

Take time to recognise and thank colleagues for what they do by offering rewards. Feeling appreciated at work can lead to positive effects, such as: 

  • Higher output
  • Strengthened employee relationships
  • Better work/life balance
  • Better mental health overall

A creative way to show gratitude, spread positivity and promote encouragement is to use branded eCards, which anyone within your organisation can send and receive. These eCards can reflect anything you choose, from showcasing your company values to hitting a company goal.

Creating a culture of appreciation around the frequency of praising and giving thanks is the best way to generate positivity and stand out as a great place to work.

3. New opportunities to connect

Allowing employees to take time to travel to different offices and experience other cultures is a fun and creative benefit that also invests in personal development. Travelling is a great way to have new experiences, meet new people and see new places. The world’s various cultures make for more ambitious, adventurous and cultured workers. 

employees connecting conceptBut with the pandemic’s challenges and restrictions, travelling isn’t as easy as it once was. You may be looking for new ways to promote connection and culture across locations, with employees spread out across the globe.

That’s exactly what Henley Properties Group, a Reward Gateway client, was facing. The team committed to improving employee communications by increasing blog frequency on the company’s engagement platform, the 'Henley Hub.' They made it more inviting and exciting for employees to log in, read and engage with the content.

"We can confidently say Henley Hub is the one place employees can go to find what they need,” said Emily Day, People and Culture Advisor at Henley Homes. “When somebody comes to us with an important update or an idea that will help other employees at work, we’re able to publish it really quickly and easily."

By upgrading to digital communications tools, HR leaders can give their people what they crave in the moment and boost connections from any location, at any time.

4. Meaningful discounts

Stretching disposable income is a key differentiator for employers in today’s crowded landscape, especially as the cost of living increases are affecting day-to-day necessities such as a surge in rail fare, as reported by the BBC, and increased labour costs being passed on the end consumer. 


An employee discounts programme can help ease some of the troubles around inflation by providing employees with extra disposable income and valuable savings.

Particularly when a discounts programme has 900+ leading retailers as you can find with Reward Gateway's programme, employees can start saving on their weekly Tesco shop, with average savings of £300 annually alone! 

What's more, employees can access these numerous discounts with an easy-to-use mobile app in the palm of their hand to make these significant savings immediately impactful. 

Atos UK was looking to evolve its company discounts, alongside employee recognition, to engage its nearly 10,000 employees. The organisation needed to create a central hub for all benefits, while making sure that they were relevant to its diverse demographic of workers. 

Working with Reward Gateway, Atos launched the ‘Prosper’ platform, which combined benefits, wellbeing and recognition in one centralised location. The organisation has seen an average annual savings of approximately £1,051 per employee, an engagement rate of 75% with the platform and a 5 out of 5 rating from employees for the total benefits package.

5. A focus on employee wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is more important than ever. Organisations that prioritise their employees’ mental, physical and financial wellbeing will stand out amongst a sea of competitors. In fact, according to a recent study of 3,809 employees and senior HR decision-makers across the UK, U.S. and Australia, 44% of employees would like their employers to increase spending on employee wellbeing in the next year as a top investment.

wellbeing conceptMacmillan Cancer Support has focussed on employee wellbeing as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19, where hundreds of its nurses and healthcare professionals were facing disrupted work routines, uncertainty and employee burnout because of elevated workloads.

MacMillan wanted to shine a spotlight on mental health and provide extra support to keep employees connected. With the introduction of 'Top Banana,' the company’s all-in-one employee engagement platform, the team has seen fast results. More than 25% of employees have engaged with the new platform, with 30% using the Wellbeing Centre resources. Employees get full access to hundreds of videos and articles on improving physical, mental and financial wellbeing.

Supporting wellbeing isn’t just a nice perk anymore – it’s a must-have as many employees are on the verge of burnout. Leaders must find ways to improve employee wellbeing, especially when their people need it most.

Learn more about Macmillan Cancer Support's engagement and wellbeing journey »

6. Sabbaticals and family leave

Whether an employee just had a baby, is heading back to school, is dealing with a bereavement in the family or is experiencing a mental health crisis, time off is one of the greatest benefits they can receive. 

Many people worry about taking time off because of the financial insecurity it may bring. They push through illness, crises and major life events to put their job first.

Life happens, but a significant life change shouldn’t force someone to choose between their job versus family, health or wellness. 

Offering sabbaticals and increased family leave as a steady benefit is a great way to improve your EVP and your chances as being a top pick among job searchers. By providing paid time off, employees are better able to take care of themselves and their families, which results in more effective time management, better mental health and higher quality work.

7. An upgraded holiday allowance

A salary sacrifice benefit that's seeing a resurgence is Holiday Trading, where employers offer a 'choose your package' style holiday offering where employees can choose to add or detract holiday days in favour of pro-rated salary increases or decreases. Putting the choice in the hands of your people empowers them to make the best decisions for their day-to-day, whether they need those extra days to avoid employee burnout or to treat themselves on an extra-special holiday, or if they need the extra pounds in their pocket for essentials.

8. Volunteer opportunities

Giving your people dedicated paid time off days is a surefire way to boost morale, while encouraging them to connect to their local community. Rochester - Centre For Youth - September 2018--9Organisations that support their people, their interests and their skills outside of work will stand out as an employer that promotes a healthy work-life balance. Here are some ideas for volunteer days:

  • Blood donor days
  • Group volunteer days
  • Beach clean up days
  • Skills-based volunteer days

Understanding what your people value and creating unique staff benefits can enhance your Employee Value Proposition and help your organisation stand out as an employer of choice.

Interested in learning more about creative benefits you can offer employees? Get in touch with an Employee Engagement Specialist today.

Request a conversation »

Dawn Saxby-Willis

Dawn is a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Reward Gateway with more than 18 years of experience within the recruitment industry. When she's not scoping out the next great fit for RG, she's likely hanging out with her four-legged friends. As an animal lover, she once spent her lunch break saving a bull - mud and all!

Senior Talent Acquisition Partner

Subscribe here!

Subscribe to our Blog Updates!

Receive our most popular articles in your inbox every other week for employee engagement best practice and inspiration