The link between happiness and productivity in the workplace has long been established, but with issues such as absenteeism and the lack productivity in many UK workplaces, it’s time for many businesses to take a long hard look at the employee benefits they offer. Modern workers have different priorities and goals than the generations that have come before them, yet in many workplaces, this is not being reflected by the perks on offer.
Do discount policies and away days really motivate employees to go the extra mile or are there other rewards that could do a much better job of improving the performance of your team? Pensions, healthcare and company cars might be tried and tested staff benefits, but there are also plenty of modern alternatives that can be used to excellent effect. Here are a few modern alternatives to the employee benefits of old…
- Flexible working
Having a healthy work/life balance is one of the top priorities of modern workers. Gone are the days when employees simply accepted that they have to work long hours with no overtime pay or face a long commute every day. These days, if an employer cannot offer them the work/life balance they are looking for, many will simply choose to work elsewhere.
Flexible working practices have a huge part to play in allowing employees to have the kind of working life they want to lead. Flexible hours, the ability to work remotely and even early finish Fridays are all benefits the modern employee is looking for.
Flexible working practices have become a key differentiator for candidates when choosing between similar jobs. Add to that the fact that research (pdf) shows flexible working can improve productivity and concentration and the business case for this benefit is clear.
- Paid time off to volunteer
In addition to their paid annual leave every year, many businesses, particularly those that employ and want to attract younger workers, are giving employees a day or two of paid time off so they can volunteer for a not-for-profit cause.
As well as being a powerful employee perk, many employers see this as an essential part of their CSR strategy. Not only does it improve the recruitment and retention of ethically minded employees but it also helps to increase brand awareness and align the business with the local community.
- Alternative health benefits
Keeping fit and healthy is one of the top priorities for workers of all ages but particularly the young. Employees do not want their job to detrimentally impact their health or lifestyle. Making a small and relatively inexpensive change such as providing a free office fruit supply at work can make a big difference to the way employees feel about their jobs. Healthy eating has been proven to keep workers happier, healthier and more productive at work, making this one simple staff benefit that’s likely to cover its own cost.
What are some of the most effective employee benefits you’ve seen? Would staff incentives influence your decision to take a role? Please share your views in the comments below.