what to consider before deciding on a benefits strategy
There's a huge range of employee benefits out there in the ether, just waiting to be offered to your team. But with so many packages available, it can be difficult to know what to choose. Here's what you should keep in mind...We’ve spoken to a lot of organisations about finding the right employee benefits for them – and there's rarely a simple answer. You really need to get to know a company, and its people, to work out the best approach to take.
We’ve pulled together a few points you'll need to think about, in order to start developing the perfect employee benefit strategy for your people.
choosing the right employee benefits for your organisation
First things first – if you're going to make sure the benefits you offer are right for your team, you've got to make sure they're right for the wider organisation, too.
Whether you're making the decision from a HR, payroll, or board level, it's essential not to let your judgement become clouded by solely your job role – or your personality.
It's almost always a bad idea to assume the benefits you want are what everyone wants – remember, not everyone within the organisation will have the same circumstances as you, so it needs to be a considered decision.
That all-important return on investment
Your internal benefits budget is obviously going to be an essential consideration, different benefits have different returns on investment and some, such as annual leave purchase, will often pay for themselves. Salary sacrifice schemes will also see you making reduced National Insurance Contributions.
But it's also important to remember that not every return on your investment will be this direct. Benefits can have a huge impact on retaining employees and reducing costs of repeatedly recruiting and training.
Benefits can also go a long way to improving health and wellbeing, which can, in turn, see absences reduced. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is: what return do you want to see? What outcomes are you trying to achieve?
Your company type
The size and structure of your business will play a big part in the way you provide benefits. For example, there are plenty of benefits packages on the market to make the sort of benefits you'd expect at a huge company much more accessible to SMEs with smaller budgets.
Similarly, there are plenty of procurement frameworks for public sector organisations that can make the whole process a lot simpler.
Factors that determine benefit needs
Once you've thought about the organisation as a whole, the next step is to think about the actual employees who make up that organisation. They're the ones that will really be benefiting, after all!
Where people live, where they work, and how they get between the two have a huge impact on the type of benefits they tend to prefer; particularly when it comes to commuting benefits!
Whether you're thinking of offering cars, cycling schemes, or public transport season tickets, you'll need to consider where your staff are coming from, and where they're going to. It probably won't come as much surprise that cycling and public transport benefits are more popular than cars in London, for example.
We sing the praises of cycle-to-work schemes quite a lot, as we think they're a fantastic way to save money and get in shape, all whilst getting to work.
But they're also not for everyone – particularly if you work somewhere that's inaccessible by bike to anyone but the most seasoned cyclists, such as an out-of-town industrial estate, or if you have a workload largely made up by mobile workers who need to drive to different sites.
There are definite industry trends in which benefits are popular, but following them only works if they match your organisation!
With a range of benefits to suit everyone available, you'll need to consider the make-up of your workforce to narrow things down a bit.
We've looked into what different age groups want from employee benefits previously, and while there's not any huge differences, there are a few variations between the generations.
Typically, older people are more likely to be looking for support with their health, while your younger employees are more likely to be looking for training-related benefits. Generation X, on the other hand – those currently aged about 35 to 50 – are looking for benefits that give them more time off to spend with the family.
Making sure you've got a set of benefits that are relevant to people at different stages of their lives is really important – otherwise, you could have a whole chunk of your workforce feeling left behind and just adding to the potential reasons for why they decide to leave your business.
One of the biggest influencers of that benefits people will need comes down to one factor: children.
With child care voucher schemes now having ended, offering help for employees with their childcare costs can make a real difference. If this is not possible, allowing them time away from commuting and perhaps working from home can also play a huge part in reducing potential stress.
Making sure that everyone has access to benefits that suit their family and financial situations is another big thing to consider.
Finding out what people want
What's the best way to figure out the right benefits for your people? Well, why not just ask them?
Employee surveys, focus groups, inductions, exit interviews, team meetings, and even votes on the final options, are all valid ways to find out what people want from benefits.
Whether you're just getting a feel for what people want, or putting them in complete control of the decision, it's essential to involve your employees in the process.
When you do, you know you've picked the benefits that people want – and that means they're more likely to use them, too. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing!
OUR AWARD-WINNING EMPLOYEE BENEFITS PLATFORM
Our award-winning employee benefit programmes have been helping organisations across the UK to improve their workforce engagement and build better connections with their employees. We've built a huge network of partners over the last 50 years, meaning that we can offer staff benefits which our rivals simply can't match! Click below to learn more: