I’ve written posts in the past about the challenges companies can face when it comes to staff retention. We are now in a culture where, for many reasons, the notion of a job for life is increasingly fading. Many employees feel the need to move on to other workplaces for a number of reasons including career progression. However, other reasons for your staff handing in their notice and going to pastures new could be because they don’t feel valued in their current role.
As we all know, high morale is very important in the workplace and when there is high morale, you have much more chance of hanging onto those young, talented members of staff you spent so much time and money trying to recruit. And staff who feel happy and valued in their roles are more likely to perform better, thus increasing the productivity of the firm. These days, companies are coming up with more innovative ways to keep morale high and boost their staff retention.
Offering company perks has always been both a recruitment strategy and a way of increasing staff retention and in the 21st century, as well as the more traditional perks, many others are becoming fun, innovative and quirky. In this post, we’ll look at some of the perks out there on offer to the United Kingdom’s employees.
Top Perks Offered By Employers Are Not Just Limited To Large Companies
The great thing about company perks is that they are not just reserved for the big, multinational corporate firms who have the money to spend on attractions such as paid holidays with all travel, accommodation and food and drink expenses paid.
Yes, those types of perks are definitely going to attract new applicants and boost morale within the company but there are also lots of other ideas out there that can be adapted to companies of all sizes. Just because you are a small or medium enterprise, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t treat your staff to company perks, because not all perks offered by employers are going to cost the earth. Quirky, simple ideas can also attract and retain the best staff by boosting morale and demonstrating to staff that the CEO values what they do.
Increasingly, companies are becoming famous not just for the products they offer or the services they provide, but also for all those little extras they offer their employees on top of their standard pay packet, breaks and holidays. More and more employers are realising the benefits and value of rewarding their staff and, get these perks right, and you could have a constant stream of applicants eager to work for you and a team of happy and fulfilled staff already working hard for you. It’s a win win situation for both employer and employee.
Does your company currently offer any perks to full time employees, part time employees or maybe even both? If not, some of the ones listed below could be worth your consideration. They are all extras that are in operation across some of the world’s largest companies and also smaller ones, too, and for some, it’s these perks that always get them listed in ‘best company to work for’ compilations.
Google, for example, are always right up there when it comes to innovative ways of keeping their employees happy. Google CEO, Larry Page, has the belief that when you treat people well, you get better productivity – and their performance speaks for itself. As a company, they have food on tap for their employees – served meals and a pantry where staff can use food to prepare their own dishes. Other perks include bowling alleys where employees can go and wind down for a while and they also offer massages at the desk.
This is just a sample of what’s on offer at Google and obviously, SMEs are not in a position to go out there and buy themselves a bowling alley to keep staff amused. But ideas can be adapted and scaled so that perks can be offered to employees.
So what are some of the top perks out there which can benefit both you and your staff? And could you incorporate some of these into your own company?
We all know how expensive insurance can be and how time-consuming it can be trying to find the best quotes. Some larger companies are able to offer their employees perks such as free car insurance, home insurance or even pet insurance. Pets are a much-loved part of many families so this one could be a good draw both for attracting new applicants and also for your staff retention.
Allowing pets in the workplace
Isn’t this a quirky one? Clearly, it depends on the type of company you are as to whether you have a suitable environment but, as mentioned above, pets are much-loved members of many families. Most pet owners don’t like to leave their little animal friends at home alone so if they can bring them to work, they feel much happier. Some tech companies operate a bring-your-pet-to work policy. Have you got the space or the ability within your company to allow pets? This is an employer perk that could suit SMEs as well as larger companies.
No-tie policy and casual dress code
Some employer perks have no financial outlay and operating a no-tie policy and a casual dress code is used by many firms, especially SMEs. This type of employer perk can be good if you are looking to attract students and young people into student jobs or training positions. Young people like the idea of working for a fun, forward thinking company and a casual dress code can give that impression. While this employer perk isn’t suitable for all companies, for those who could consider implementing this, there is no financial cost; just happy, relaxed staff.
Offering clothing advances
Particularly if you are employing graduates, students or young school leavers, if you are a company that requires staff to be smartly dressed in a more formal business suit, for example, a clothing advance can show that you are a company willing to help and support. To students and graduates straight out of university, the prospect of having a big (to them) cash outlay for clothing just to go to work can seem daunting and a clothing advance, or even paying for that first suit outright, can go a long way to making new young talent feel valued and wanted.
Investing in staff fitness
Exercise can clear the head and make you feel fresh and energised and a team of healthy, energised staff can only be a win win situation. For larger companies, some are in a position to offer their staff yoga and exercise classes within the workplace or even a fully kitted out gym. If this isn’t possible for your company, then it can still be possible to offer quirky or low cost employer perks that employees can really appreciate.
Investing in staff welfare and fitness means you can have a more productive, healthy workforce and possibly decrease the likelihood of staff needing to take sick leave. If you are a smaller company other fitness perks you could offer are:
- Pedometers & phone apps. Whether it’s individual pedometers or phone apps, this can be done as a company where staff can not only monitor their steps but also encourage each other by having an online system where results are pooled for everyone to see.
- A weekly running club. Again, this is cost free and can bring people together in your workplace who perhaps wouldn’t meet otherwise. If the funds are there, choosing a charity to support and paying for entry to organised local runs such as the Great North Run or local marathons can be a good incentive for staff to keep up with their running.
- Bike rides. These could be a weekly event after the workday has finished and, as well as everyone keeping fit, it can help build team spirit. If you have recruited young people or graduates, chances are, they have moved away from home for their new job. Activities like this can help them to settle in and bond more with workmates.
- Football or other sports teams. It can just be a regular kick around, 5-a-side or, if there are other companies in your area doing similar, perhaps a mini league. Team sports can really boost the camaraderie amongst staff within your workplace and can also help to attract and retain young talent as they feel more of a sense of belonging.
Some companies – both SMEs and large corporations – offer games rooms with arcade games or traditional pub games such as pool and darts. Table football or air hockey are also ideas to consider. Lots of people benefit from being able to take time out and just chill, away from their desks or work station and playing games is also said to encourage creativity and increase people’s attention span. Providing this space to relax also gives your staff members a chance to interact in a different environment and it can build team spirit within the company as a whole.
Food is more than just fuel for the body. It also encourages chat in a more informal setting and employer perks in the way of food can be really good for both staff retention and in attracting staff. Young talent out there on the jobs market can be attracted to your company, even if you’re an SME competing with larger corporations for the best staff, because of your foodie perks. Again, these give students and graduates the impression that you are a fun and modern company to work for. Here are some of the top employer perks when it comes to food.
- Meals for staff meetings: Some companies have staff quarterly or monthly staff meetings, for example. Whenever your staff meetings are, could you incorporate food into them? This could be fast food with a bit more of a young, modern feel to it such as getting a delivery of sushi and noodles or a mini buffet.
- Pizza Day / Doughnut Day / Cupcake Day Especially for smaller companies, a lot of time is spent working at desks and working lunch hours. As a bit of chill time where staff can just come together and talk about their week, some firms will finish earlier or take a longer lunch break once a week. In this time, staff can come together for doughnuts, cupcakes or pizza. Whatever everyone prefers – and it doesn’t need to be expensive. These are the types of perks where you can also include those doing student jobs or part time temporary jobs. It helps to make everyone feel part of the team.
- Summer barbecues. Again, staff perks such as summer barbecues could be incorporated into staff meetings or more informal get togethers.
- Subsidised organic drinks and foods This can relate back to the encouragement of staff to keep themselves fit and healthy. As well as fitness and exercise classes, some companies can offer subsidised organic or healthy drinks and foods. Again, this can reduce the number of days staff are taking on sick leave.
- Free restaurants and canteens So that employees don’t feel they have to bring a packed lunch in to work and also to encourage staff to make sure they take a lunch break and fuel their bodies for the day ahead, some larger companies are in a position to offer free restaurant or canteen facilities to staff. With an assortment of healthy dishes, staff are refuelled and feeling valued by the company, too.
Time off work
I’ve mentioned in a previous post about British workers not taking the time off they are entitled to. When staff take a break, they come back feeling energised and many employers are realising this by offering company perks centred around time off. Here’s what some firms are adopting and maybe some of these can be added to your recruitment strategy or adapted t fit your company’s needs:
- Unlimited holidays: staff can take off as much time as they need to. As mentioned in that previous post, however, there needs to be an existing culture in the workplace where staff are encouraged to feel that is acceptable to take time off.
- Financial rewards: And how better to make staff feel it is okay to take time off b y offering financial rewards or other incentives to those members of your team who use up their holiday entitlement.
- Birthdays: How about company perks where staff can take an extra day off each year (especially if that’s paid) for their birthday or other special days.
- Early Finish: It depends on the nature of your company but some firms are in a position where they can alter their working week slightly so that an early finish is possible on Fridays, for example. This gives staff a feeling that management cares about work life balance.
Company Retreats & Getaways
Some companies own holiday cottages around the United Kingdom that employees can use when they book their holidays. This is either free for the employee and their family or at least subsidised. This is a win win because employees get a good break in quality accommodation, and they come back to work feeling refreshed and more productive. Also, many graduates come out of university in lots of debt so company perks like this could be a draw for them because it means their breaks are subsidised whilst they pay off student loans and overdrafts.
We all love a freebie and, as company perks go, they don’t have to cost the earth for the employer. Freebies can be something related to your company – the services you offer or the products you sell – or it can be something completely unrelated but which suits individual staff members. Some free treats can be quirky (but not expensive) that can make your company look fun and young – perfect for attracting and retaining young talent.
Here are just a few examples:
- Doughnuts, cupcakes and pizza were mentioned above. Why not add a free beer to this, for those employees who don’t drive. A treat.
- Tickets to sporting events. Some companies can get tickets to top sporting events and pass them on to employees but there can be other events you could attend as a group where the entrance is paid for by the company.
- Make-overs and massages or other treatments can be offered.
- Free gym membership for employees and subsidised membership for spıses. This ties in with the investment in the health and fitness of employees and, as mentioned above, if this isn’t financially possible, then running or cycling clubs could be arranged.
- Free tuition and exam fees. If you want to show school leavers and graduates how committed you are to their future development and education, paying for future courses and training demonstrates this. Of course, existing staff will feel valued, too, if they feel you are committed to their career growth by encouraging them to go on courses.
- Free clothing and footwear. These types of company perks can be good in the retail sector where sales assistants need to look the part as a representative of your company. Free or subsidised company clothing – especially in fashion retail jobs – can be a good draw for students and other young people.
- Free oil changes or car washes. Yes, there are lots of employer perks out there that you might not have thought about previously. Keeping a car clean can be an unwanted chore for many people so if you can offer a car wash or a valet every once in a while to employees, this could be really appreciated by them.
- House cleaning. Household chores can be difficult to keep on top of for full time workers, especially if they have a family, too. You can imagine how grateful those employees would be if your company could offer a perk of providing a cleaner to clean the house every so often.
Assistance With Childcare
Childcare can be very expensive and, for working parents, it can also be difficult to juggle family life with the work day. Depending on the size of the company, there are different employer perks out there that can ease some of the difficulties working parents face.
- Creche – Some companies are able to offer perks for employees such as a free onsite creche.
- After School Clubs – For parents with no one to look after their children between school finishing and the end of the work day, after school clubs are offered by some companies so that parents know their children are being looked after and are doing meaningful activities.
- Time off (as an extra to holidays) for parents to be able to go to school events such as parent’s evening. These types of perks could be offered by SMEs as well as larger companies. As mentioned in a previous post, SMEs often have the luxury of being able to be flexible with occurrences like this as other employees can cover the absence and take their time off when needed, too.
These are just a few of the employer perks that are being used out there in the world of work and many employers value them as a way of building camaraderie and team spirit within the workplace. What types of perks are you offering your employees and do you find they help with both staff retention and recruitment?