I heard a rather nice little saying the other day. It was ‘A good job pays you twice, once in money and once in lifestyle’. I like how that so neatly sums up the attraction of benefits for new employees. Not all candidates are driven by salary; in fact, just the opposite. There is a natural ceiling that occurs in specific occupations that creates a balance for the salary levels. You can push through that with extra money in your offer, but realistically, would it really be a life-changing amount? Benefits, on the other hand, can make a real difference when it comes to attracting and keeping the best teams.
What are benefits?
It seems like a simple question, but there is a little more to what constitutes a benefit than first meets the eye. It is important to remember that there are two kinds of benefit. The following are all amongst things that are considered ‘core’ benefits and not really offering anything that is not expected in any contract of employment, and they are usually a legal requirement.
- Insurance and income protections
- Minimum 28 days holiday (this can be pro-rata and includes public holidays)
- If closing between Christmas and New Year, ensuring employees don’t need to use their holidays for this.
Anything that exceeds these and is of benefit in kind (i.e., has a value instead of a cash payment) is considered an additional benefit. There is also a third kind of benefit where the employee contributes in part or in full. In hospitality, for example, it is common for staff to have a discount they can use when booking hotels, and so forth.
As an employer, you are free to offer any adjustments to the core benefits as long as it does not reduce the basic entitlement.
Five tips for using benefits to appeal to the best candidates
A good benefits package is important, so here are a few things to think about when it comes to designing an attractive offer.
Start with the basics
If you think of benefits as lifestyle boosters, you immediately realise that dental, medical, optical, and other health-related perks are probably a good place to start. Before you do anything else, put in place a good foundation of ‘expected’ perks.
Push the basics a little
Sometimes it is quite a low-cost option to add additional elements to the basic perks. Additions to the basic medical package, for example, can be a big attraction without requiring a huge investment. Wellness, mindfulness, and general health workshops could well be a very attractive option.
Unusual benefits are really appealing and will help you stand out from the crowd. We have seen some great results just from offering an extra day of holiday to make a long weekend for an employee birthday, for example.
Build, reward and remember everyone
Building the entitlement to benefits is a great way to generate loyalty amongst the team. Extra days of holiday based on service, access to duvet days after a set period of time, and similar, can work well. One of the downsides of benefits, however, is that if you offer them to one job role and not another, you can generate bad will. Sales roles are often seen as overly benefit-based because of incentives, for example. At the same time, some roles do need to have additional incentives attached but try to keep them as fair as possible across the team.
Personalise where possible but be inclusive
Not everyone wants the same so approach the benefits options from the point of view of the employee as well as the business. We see a lot of candidates who really don’t care about some of the perks they get from their current employers because they don’t make any difference to their lifestyle. Think about the diverse nature of your team and be careful of well-meaning benefits that could exclude people. Perkbox, for example, is quite a common employee benefits and rewards platform where employees can use salary to put towards the perks and benefits they want and it can be completely tailored for each employee.
Finally, remember to check for any potential tax disadvantages for the employees on the benefits you offer. A benefit like a nice company car may be less welcome than a competitive car allowance.
You may have noticed that we didn’t include flexible working in this list. That is because, since the pandemic, home working is now quite a common offer. It can still be a very attractive option, but it’s worth talking it through with us first. A benefit that candidates for some roles now consider an expectation is not really a strong motivator anymore.
Call us if you want to discuss how to amend your job offer to include a more attractive benefits package. We are always happy to help.