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The employee benefits that will sell your company

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  • 22nd April 2015

    Employee benefits. Of course you would always hope to employ passionate workers who want the job role you are offering beyond any additional benefits that you can offer, but, just as the job market gets increasingly competitive, businesses now find themselves fighting over the best candidates.

    So how do you ensure that these top candidates choose your business? While you would hope that your reputation and office ethics would sell the position, offering persuasive employee benefits in addition to, of course, an attractive salary is quickly becoming a part of the recruitment decision for potential workers. As an experienced legal recruitment agency. we are seeing this more and more among businesses and companies where they are looking to outdo one another with better benefit packages to ensure that they not only secure the best employees, but retain them.

    Here we look into the different UK employee benefit groups, their differences and the benefits that really persuade candidates to pick you.

    Core benefits

    Core benefits are the incentives that are given to all employees in a company. These can include such benefits as a pension, life insurance, sick pay and holiday entitlement and pay.

    Most employees who work a five-day week are entitled to 28 days of holiday and the employer must provide holiday pay during the statutory leave. These days can include bank and public holidays as part of the statutory entitlement, but it would not be much of an incentive for someone to take employment with your company if you gave them minimal holiday allowance. You can calculate holiday entitlement with the Government website’s free tool .

    Voluntary benefits

    These types of employee benefits are ones that the employees themselves choose to opt in and pay for. This can include anything from reduced cost on car breakdown cover or money off of a gym membership. This can take the form of the employee in question paying for the service or under a salary sacrifice scheme where the money is taken out directly from their pay packet.

    The perks of offering this type of benefit for the employer is it is something that you can offer, but not everyone will choose to opt in. It is also a good way of keeping your entire workforce happy. Staff benefits can be a difficult thing to get right as what might be appealing for one generation of employees might not be an incentive for another generation. For example, younger employees in the 18-21 age group may find a gym membership appealing, while older employees may be swayed by childcare vouchers and attractive pension schemes. By offering voluntary benefits you can work towards ensuring that you are not enforcing benefits that are of no value to certain staff members.

    Flexible benefits

    Flexible benefits differ to voluntary benefits in that it is a flexible benefits package that employees can opt in to and choose the benefits that they want to receive. Rather than paid-for services that the employer offers a contribution to, as in the voluntary benefits system, these schemes offer employees more choice and are a positive option for employers because they offer increased employee engagement, more direct cost savings and can improve the recruitment process.

    This being said, today there are very few truly flexible employee benefit packages on offer in the UK. As stated in this article. it is far more common to see a system where there is a core benefits package offered to employees from which they can’t opt out or receive a cash alternative, and then an additional flexible package on top.

    Common employee benefits

    In the current working market it is far less common to offer pay rises than

    it once was, so employee benefits can make all the difference when it comes to persuasive recruitment. Here are some of the most common employee benefits that you might see from employers.

    1. Pension

    While it is compulsory for an employer to offer access to a pension scheme, they don’t have to add additional contributions to employees’ monthly payments, although they will need to by law for most employees by April 2017. A generous pension scheme is often seen as a very desirable employee benefit and a great way of not only securing staff in the first place, but retaining them also.

    2. Income protection

    Income protection is a type of insurance that is common to offer as an employee benefit. It pays up to 80 percent of your salary if the employee is unable to work for six months or longer due to either illness or injury.

    3. Life insurance

    Again, life insurance is a typical employee benefit that is seen as attractive to the employee group that is of parental age or older, as it means that their family are taken care of should anything happen to them.

    4. Private medical insurance

    Private medical insurance is another insurance type that is becoming increasingly common among employee benefit packages.

    5. Employee assistance programmes

    Particularly common among firms and in-house lawyer roles. employee assistance programmes, or EAPs, are there to ease pressures on employees. In can include counselling and advice relating to both personal and work issues. This works in both the employee and employer’s favour as it can eliminate any stress issues staff have before they get to any kind of detrimental level.

    6. Childcare vouchers

    Much like an attractive maternity allowance, childcare vouchers are appealing to the parent employee group. These are a part of a government scheme, but operated through employers, which allows the employee to pay for childcare out of their pre-tax salary, rather than the taxed income. Alternatively, some larger employers even offer their own childcare facilities, which can be seen as a huge benefit to working parents.

    7. Company car

    The company car benefit is one that is often mentioned as an incentive in the job description. For employees who are expected to do a lot of travel as a part of their work this can be an attractive and necessary benefit. It is often accompanied by such perks as a company laptop and mobile phone.

    8. Bonuses

    Performance-related bonuses are often not seen so much as an employee benefit, but rather a good incentive run by the employer to drive workplace engagement and maintain standards. Similarly, companies often offer in-house competitions and incentives to the same effect.

    9. Subsidised food and drink

    Depending on the size of your company, it can be a good idea to offer free or subsidised food or drink. When bought in bulk it doesn’t cost the employer a comparably huge amount and can work towards high employee morale. Free tea, coffee and fruit are common employee benefits that can save the employee time, as well as money.

    10. Flexible working

    Flexible working hours is a relatively common employee benefit offered across a range of sectors. Depending on the sector, this can work in a number of ways; some employers offer a system of working flexible hours so long as the employee works between the hours of 10am and 4pm so that they are in during typical office hours for important calls, while others offer complete flexibility so long as the work is completed to deadlines. This can be a particularly attractive incentive to employees with children, and is relatively cost effective for the employer as employees are more likely to work efficiently.

    Other common employee benefits offered in the UK can include either subsidised or free gym membership, dental plans, gadgets like iPads that can be paid in instalments taken from their salary, share schemes, generous paid holiday or sick leave packages and home working. Whatever you are thinking of offering, be sure that it will work for both your business as well as your employees. Looking for further advice on employee benefits? Get in touch with us via the contact form .

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