When you’re running a business, keeping hold of your top talent can be a constant cause for concern. Similarly, finding the best candidates to fill open vacancies can also be a stressful endeavour. So how do you find and retain your most hardworking employees?
Paying staff a good wage is always going to be one of the strongest weapons in your arsenal but it’s also worth considering what perks you can offer beyond money. After all when you’re fighting with rivals for the same pool of talent, being able to offer that little bit extra can mean the difference between securing the cream of the crop and having to settle for the second choicers.
Some businesses can exploit their own strengths and offer generous discounts on the goods and services they provide (where appropriate). This works particularly well in the travel sector as discounts on airfares and hotels are always popular. Meanwhile high street stores may offer staff discounts on their wares, as long as it’s generous enough to be considered a genuine perk (10% off is rarely liable to cut it) and also pertains to desirable or useful items staff could realistically afford (offering call centre staff on £20k salaries discounts on £50k+ luxury goods could easily backfire).
But what are some benefits you could be offering that are always guaranteed to go down well, no matter the industry?
It should be no surprise to learn that offering more paid time off to employees always features highly on lists of the most sought-after benefits in the UK. The statutory minimum annual leave allowance of 20 days for full time employees, plus bank holidays (which would usually number 8 but as this year has shown can go up to 10), is actually quite meagre by European standards. This is why it’s now fairly common in a lot of sectors to find companies offer a holiday allowance above the legally mandated minimum.
Offering additional leave as reward for length of service is a nice way of incentivising loyalty whilst giving staff an extra day off for their birthday has the added advantage of avoiding all the office politics around birthday cards, gifts, collections and cakes etc. So there are lots of ways to top up the standard allowance in a way that can help employees look favourably upon their employer.
This is a perk that’s obviously easier for some businesses to offer than others but for most non customer facing office roles it shouldn’t be too difficult to offer at least some flexibility beyond the typical 9-5. Employees love flexibility and giving staff the choice to work when they’re at their most productive has obvious benefits for the business too
There are huge advantages to overall wellbeing by offering flexibility to your staff and stress levels are reduced for all when there’s leeway for unexpected delays caused by uncontrollable external factors like public transport issues. Nobody likes being late, so by removing a daily deadline to start work there’s considerably less anxiety around possible delays.
The sense of freedom that comes with not being beholden to a rigid working hours pattern has myriad benefits for all workers, not just those with family commitments. If you don’t need to keep workers on a set routine this perk is a no-brainer, particularly as studies show workers frequently value flexibility over higher salaries.
The explosion in popularity of hybrid working was accelerated dramatically by the pandemic-induced lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Companies that quickly recognised staff were just as productive at home, provided with the right equipment, also enjoyed the advantages of not having to maintain big expensive offices. A workforce of 20 no longer needs a 20 person office to work from. Rotating staff for some days in the office with some working remotely allows for utilisation of more cost-effective premises. This is why serviced offices are currently proving more popular than leased office space.
The advantages for the employee are many, with workers particularly appreciative of not having to commute to a place of work on a daily basis and being available to receive deliveries, wait in for contractors or just keep an eye on children and pets.
Once upon a time it was common to see Friday doughnuts or other sweet treats to be shared among the office raising a smile. However, these days dishing out sugary rewards can alienate some staff, particularly with younger generations often keen to engage in more healthy lifestyles. It can even be seen as irresponsible, leaving tins of temptation out for those who would otherwise be trying to avoid them.
That’s why today’s companies offering free food and drinks tend to consider fruit and more nutritious snacks instead of biscuits and cakes. Offering premium hot beverage options instead of freeze-dried coffee and supermarket tea bags can also help keep staff onside and it’s a little touch that can have a huge impact in making staff feel appreciated.