Before I started working at Reward Gateway, I likely would have struggled to think of even five employee benefits better than a pay rise. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love a bigger salary? But the truth is, a larger salary isn't what brings about better engagement at a company. There are many other ways to continually attract, engage and retain your employees, and one of the most critical ways you can impact engagement is through reviewing your payrolling benefits in kind.
From an HR perspective, avoiding a company wide pay rise is a smart move because as you know, even though it may be a small (yet welcome) amount to an employee, it's a large cost to the business.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at what payroll benefits are available that can add the most value for your employees...
Some of the below employee perks we’ve introduced at Reward Gateway and others I’ve seen at the more than 1,300 clients we work with globally. As the Client Success Director in our Australia office, I’ve spoken with loads of companies to see what they want most in their benefits. And what I’ve learned? Everyone views different things as benefits.
So, in no particular order:
1. Flexible working
The flexibility to work at a time that fits in with other commitments such as childcare, fitness classes, study or family events can mean so much more than a simple pay rise. Flexible working gives employees the benefit of working at a time and place that best suits their lifestyle needs. This may be earlier or later starts for some people or working from home for others.
2. Employee Discounts (to make your employees' salary go further)
As an employee benefits professional, this is a no brainer for me. Introducing an employee discount solution like SmartSpending™ really gives employees the ability to have uncapped savings on their everyday spend. With typical life expenses such as everyday groceries, or big ticket items like vacations or electrics, any saving an employee can make is important. The cost to an employer is very small when compared to the saving an employee makes.
3. Free or discounted food at work
This seems like a simple one but for me, having food available at work gives me one less thing to think about in the morning. I know that when I need it the kitchen is stocked and I can grab breakfast or even lunch. You can even. opt to incorporate this as part of your employee wellbeing strategy and choose healthier food options, which is what we've done in the cafe in the London office.
4. Increased Parental Leave
Time with family is always important but time with family when you have a newborn is absolutely critical. In an overwhelming time in your life, no matter whether you're the primary or secondary caregiver, employers can help ease this pressure of getting back to work with extended leave. I’m a testament to this: I recently had four weeks paternity leave and I loved every second I spent with my family. This is a great example of payrolling benefits in kind.
5. Wellbeing Bonus
We introduced a wellbeing bonus this year and it’s been a huge hit. Every employee has an allocated amount of money that they can spend on their own wellbeing. It's been a success as it not only helps towards your employees wellbeing but it also lets the employees focus on themselves, for a routine that suits their own lifestyle. By allocating a set amount that is specifically for these things, employees are able to look after their wellbeing without feeling guilty. At our company, we’ve seen people spend it on retreats, bikes, health insurance and even surfboards! (For our UK clients, we’ve got a wellbeing product called SmartFit that’s worth checking out to help provide exclusive wellness programme discounts.)
6. Wedding/Child bonus
One-off bonuses or “presents” for employees getting married or having a child can be hugely valuable as they provide a cash benefit at a time that it is most needed. There's no getting around it: Having a child or getting married is expensive, and that added expense ultimately leads to much more pressure. A bonus such as this might mean hiring a photographer, get the bride her dream dress, buying baby clothes or bottles and so much more. As somebody who has made use of both of these bonuses I really can tell you they make a huge difference.
7. Casual Dress Code
This may seem like a strange one, but introducing casual dress codes can have a really positive and valuable impact for employees. Not only can it introduce a more relaxed and less stressful work environment but it can also take away the financial burden of purchasing business outfits such as suits and shirts, which can be expensive. It’s not possible to dress casually everyday, but for those days when employees aren’t meeting clients or customers, then allowing them to dress casually can be really positive.
Which benefit would your organisation value the most? What about the least? I’d love to know what you think on Twitter @RewardGateway.