A good benefits package should be part and parcel of any contract of employment. An employee who feels valued is far more likely to be loyal and productive than one who doesn’t and a benefits package will make an employee feel that they are appreciated.
What are employee benefits?
Aside from a good pay package and holiday terms there are numerous ways in which an employer can enhance life for their workforce. This shouldn’t only apply to the professional classes, a good healthcare package is a great incentive for all employees, and this should include medicals. Organisations like Hidden Hearing, for example, provide hearing tests and advice about hearing health in general. Employer reimbursement for dental and eye checks are also attractive to employees. Life assurance is relatively cheap for employers and works as an incentive when provided in a benefits package.
Retaining your employees
With the current UK skills shortage a good employee can be like gold dust. In a recent article in The Daily Telegraph, business analyst, Charles Kerr suggested that business owners should be aware that, ‘if your benefits falls short of the competition recruitment and retention are under threat.’ Employee recruitment is expensive, a recent study by Oxford Economics measured that the financial cost can be as high as £30,000 per employee when decreased productivity, advertising and interviewing are all taken into account.
It makes sound financial sense for an employer to offer an attractive benefits package to induce a sense of well being among the workforce. An unhappy employee will take more sick leave, not be as productive as possible and may well start looking for another job.
All employees should feel that their needs are addressed and not simply the profit margins and financial expectations of the organisation for which they work. In an article in The Guardian, tax specialist Emily Green argues that employers need to be more flexible and be aware of the needs of their employees. If flex hours and job sharing will make the lives of the employee easier then these options should be introduced.
A study published by the Cass Business School argues that many benefits packages were first devised when the overall workforce was predominantly male. The report suggests that, ‘benefits have failed to keep pace with the make-up and expectations of today’s workforce.’ As a result of the recent recession many women have lost their jobs in the private and public sector, all too often employees are perceived as being ‘difficult’ when all they want is to be able to adjust their work/life balance. After all, most of the population ‘works to exist’ rather than ‘exists to work’ and a good employer should recognise this fact.
It’s not enough to offer childcare vouchers or even salary sacrifice pension schemes. A good employer should communicate with the workforce to determine which benefits will genuinely help the employee, and in the long run the company for which they work.