Now more than ever, employees have an obligation to do what they can to make life easier for their teams.
With the cost-of-living crisis, record inflation and a recession looming, looking after your staff should be front of mind. For small businesses, it can be difficult to offer pay rises that keep up with inflation – the margins are just too tight. This is when many employers choose to look at other types of perk. There are lots of benefits available to help sweeten a job offer or keep your team on side – but how do you find perks that are right for your company?
Put money back in people’s pockets
In most cases, your staff will prefer benefits that translate into real cash or savings. Too often, employee perks are intangible or token gestures – things like payday pizza, that doesn’t really leave anybody better off. If you want to improve morale, look at options like:
- Increasing matched workplace pension contributions
- Offering interest free loans, or a season ticket loan scheme
- Looking at schemes that make it easier for employees to buy big ticket items like bicycles
Beef up your existing benefits
Too many employers boast a ‘generous’ benefit package that actually equates to the legal minimum. Is there any reason that you can’t offer your team some extra annual leave, a day off on their birthday, extra sick pay or better maternity/paternity leave?
Right now, a lot of workers are also valuing more flexibility in their role – and this is something you can offer even if the budget is tight. For instance, let staff set their own working schedule as long as they’re available during core hours in the middle of the day. Or offer options such as working overtime during the week in order to finish early on a Friday.
At the moment many people are complaining about being ‘time poor’, so these things can change the whole culture of your company to one where staff feel that they are being respected and valued.
Conduct a survey
If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re not sure what benefits your staff would appreciate the most. Have you asked them? This is the easiest way to get it right, and gives the added benefit of showing people that their needs are being listened to. Asking your team what sort of perks they’d like to see more of could be done as part of a wider employee survey, looking at general happiness and well-being across the team.
Of course, you should only go this route if you’re prepared to actually listen! The results may be surprising, but if you disregard them people are going to feel ignored. These types of survey need to be the start of real change, not a cosmetic exercise.
Avoid perks that make demands on people
Sometimes office benefits can feel more like chores: big parties, away days or even overnight trips that force people to spend more time in ‘work mode’ and away from their family. This doesn’t mean you should avoid these things entirely – depending on the culture of the organisation, some teams will love them – but you should never make them mandatory or expect them to stand in for other, more meaningful benefits.