The Value of Better Benefits

There is a lot written these days about achieving the correct work-life balance.

And rightly so; people who don’t have this right will either underachieve or burn out, depending on which way their balance rests, and companies that do not help their employees get this right will face similar issues of having either a team that either underperforms or feels overworked.

Getting the right benefits is more important than ever for employers and employees alike. A good benefits package should address the work-life balance and be desirable to your staff. Gone are the days of putting together a simple package consisting of a cursory pension and some form of insurance. The workplace has changed and benefits packages need to change with it.

Proof of this is a recent market insights report produced by GCS, where 41% of respondents said that they are either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with their benefits package.

Businesses need to take the time to speak with their employees and make sure their benefits package is fit for purpose. What works for a financial institution will likely not work for a digital media company, so it is a case-by-case affair. What we do know is that the last few years have proved pensions to be unreliable and share options are sometimes not worth the paper they are printed on.

Given advances in technology, the ability to allow employees to work remotely is something many businesses can now consider. The option of being able to do this is certainly something that seems to appeal to most workers – according to our research it is the second most desired benefit. Offering childcare vouchers and family health cover (rather than individual cover) are other valuable benefits that resonate with employees. A lot of importance is put on family and health these days.

An example that I can provide is GCS’ own Wellbeing Weeks. Twice a year, once in the summer, once in the winter, we run these events that everybody looks forward to. Free of charge, our employees receive health checks, at-desk massages, eye tests, and individual nutritional advice. The aim of these weeks is to give our employees a clear idea of how their health is changing and raise awareness of the need to – and method of – keeping healthy within the workplace.  It obviously costs us to arrange and run this but the return on investment is more than worth it. Not only does it lead to a happier, healthier team but knowing that the company is looking after its workers is great for employee engagement.

Where employee engagement is high, people want to work at that company. It is fantastic for staff attraction and retention, which more than offsets the cost of running the events.

The truth of the matter is that if you get the right benefits, you can keep your workforce happy. Our experience is that companies who attempt to keep their workforce happy simply by paying more end up fostering contempt since their staff feel they are being paid market rate and getting nothing else.

In closing, the message here is simple. Don’t just plough money into benefits – apply thought. Bear in mind that benefits are not the same as money so they have to have value to your workers. Even if the representative cost of your benefits package is several thousand pounds, to a member of staff who will not use any of it, it is worth absolutely nothing. If you create a benefits package that is precisely what is wanted and will be used by your employees, it may well cost you less whilst being invaluable to them.

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