Workplace perks: How to make sure you're competitive

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In a candidate market, you need to be sure your workplace perks are laser focused for happy staff. Because, aside from raising salaries, perks and rewards are the next best way to retain the employees you have.

They show staff they’re appreciated and valued and can also help you attract great talent to your team - something many companies are struggling with now. So, if your organisation is offering one-size-fits-all perks and benefits, it may be time for a rethink.

There are different factors to consider affecting how workplace perks land. And in a jobseeker’s market, being able to keep hold of your team long-term depends on you knowing what they are.

Generational factors

It’s a given that multi-generational teams can bring richly diverse experiences, perspectives and attitudes. Read more of our tips on how to get the best out of staff of all ages. Chances are, your workplace contains people of three or four generations. They might be a mix of:

  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 to 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 and 1977)
  • Generation Y or Millennials (born between 1978 and 1996)
  • Generation Z (born after 1997)

Each life stage presents different challenges, with different mindsets, hopes and needs. So when it comes to the type of perks people want from their job, could generational diversity make a difference?

Flexible working

Let’s take flexible working as an example, which the pandemic has pushed to the top of many employee wishlists.

Being able to balance a personal life around work is attractive for Gen X and Millennials who are also parents or carers needing childcare or caring options. It can also suit older members of the team who’d like to help out with grandchildren. And for younger Gen Z workers, flexibility can mean the chance to set up a side hustle or enjoy more time for hobbies.

But when it comes to fully-remote working, remember that younger members of the team might prefer to have time in the office with their colleagues. They’re more likely to choose in-person working for the social elements and networking opportunities. Plus there’s a chance they’ll have missed some office perks put on hold during the pandemic, like the gym facilities, free food and drink and in-person events.

On the flipside, Gen X and Baby Boomers tend to be happier about doing their jobs virtually from home. They may not crave the in-person workplace benefits that younger members of the team enjoy. In fact they might not feel that these things are relevant to their lifestyles anymore.

Clearly, it can be hard to tailor all benefits to suit individual needs and preferences. But smart companies try to include all generations in their benefits packages and be mindful of how one size doesn’t fit all.

Sector-specific factors

Talking to clients and candidates we help at HR GO we know that the best workplace benefits are often tailored to a specific industry.

These perks needn’t be ground-breaking. For example, we hear of employees in the hospitality sector valuing a generous tip system and regular free meals. For office and professional roles, more flexible hours are popular. And if staff work virtually, help with setting up an ergonomic home office can be good too.

Meanwhile, if you have manual workers would they appreciate being able to book regular appointments with an on-site massage therapist? Most employees are also in favour of a paid day off on their birthday - something many employers could look at implementing.

The best way to find out how your workplace perks are landing is to ask your staff. Asking employees what they think and want can be a way to make them feel more valued, especially if you implement some of their suggestions.

How does your business compare?

Many large companies use employee benefits and rewards services to manage and oversee their perks offerings and to set up custom packages. You only need Google employee perks UK to find quite the list. Its worth taking a look at what these companies offer even if this is something out of reach for your company. These lists may inspire you to offer something more affordable, less generic, and closer to home for your employees.

It’s also worth knowing how your sector does when it comes to per-head spend on perks and benefits. Some recent research calculates the average benefits/perks cost per head per year as:

  • Marketing: £1,179.56
  • Financial services/professional services: £1,091.60
  • Construction: £967.39
  • Tech: £920.48
  • Health services: £744.18
  • Manufacturing: £576.91
  • Transport: £507.45
  • Agriculture: £486.86
  • Education: £445.18
  • Retail: £439.70
  • Hospitality: £423.86

If your organisation is in one of these sectors, how do your offerings compare? In a candidate-driven market it’s up to you as an employer to be as attractive as possible. Read our Recruiting Post Pandemic blog for more ideas on how to provide enticing benefits to new hires.

And if it’s clear you’re not being generous enough with workplace benefits, be prepared to lose valuable team members to one of your rivals.

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