How Both Employers & Employees Are Embracing Benefits In The Workplace – A Comprehensive Guide

As we head towards the end of 2023, as an employer or recruiter, you may have found that you have been forced to become more creative when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best young talent out there. 

The cost of living crisis has hit both employers and employees alike. There’s only so much money to go around when it comes to attracting staff by way of impressive looking salaries.

Indeed, for many entry level roles, basic salaries are not rising enough to cover the cost of inflation.

So, what can employers do to make sure they attract and retain the best young talent for their company?

Obviously, an attractive salary is still going to get the attention of young people when they are looking for work – whether that be graduate careers or part time jobs while they are students.

Paying your staff enough shows to them that you value what they do.

But if you are struggling to get young peopöe to apply for – and fill – your vacancies, what are those other companies doing that you are not? 

As we head towards 2024, let’s take a look at what Gen Z and other young people are looking for before they apply for a job. 

Benefits for employees

Employee benefits play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top talent in today’s competitive job market and recruiters in the UK agree that offering them is making their job easier in filling vacancies. 

In addition to a competitive salary, young recruits are looking for a robust benefits package that can enhance their overall job satisfaction, well-being, and work-life balance. 

Many employers now recognise the importance of providing a comprehensive set of benefits to meet the diverse needs of their workforce. 

This article will delve into the types of benefits that employers can offer their employees and outline the potential advantages they bring to both employers and their staff.

Flexible working

This is the big one! Different types of roles obviously lend themselves better to flexible working hours than others. But, if you are struggling to fill vacancies and you are operating in an environment where flexible working is doable, young people are looking for you to make that possible. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible work arrangements have gained immense popularity. These flexible work arrangements can take various forms, including:

Remote work 

Allowing employees to work remotely, either full-time or on a hybrid schedule, can enhance work-life balance and reduce commuting stress. 

It can also be beneficial for your staff, not least, financially. No commuter fees to come out of their salary. 

It can also be beneficial to you as an employer. If you can have remote staff, you have greatly increased the pool of talent you can reach out to with your roles. You aren’t limited to young people who live nearby. 

Offering remote work gives you the best chance of reaching the best talent.

Flexible hours

Do your staff need to be in the office at the same time every day and leave at the same time every day? 

Flextime permits employees to set their work hours within a specific range, accommodating their personal and family needs.

Flextime takes the pressure off staff having to make the commute to work at peak hours, making the commute less stressful.

And, depending on how you want to make flexitime work for your company, it can also give staff the opportunity to work some longer days in order to give themselves a day off in the week.

Compressed workweeks

A compressed workweek condenses the typical five-day workweek into fewer, longer workdays, giving employees more consecutive days off.

Lots of people enjoy this way of working as it gives them a better work life balance with more time to spend with family, friends and on other projects and passions.

Job sharing

We have written in the past about the benefits of job sharing for both the employer and the employee.

Not everyone is in a position to work full time but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the best person for your jobs. 

Job sharing allows two employees to share responsibilities for a single position, making it easier for employees to balance work and personal commitments.

Being able to offer this way of working means you don’t miss out on the best talent out there.

Health & Wellness benefits

Another of the most fundamental and sought-after employee benefits is health, wellness and mindfulness.

Again, this is a broad area that you can explore so that you can offer benefits that match what your company is trying to do and what young people are looking for. 

This category encompasses a wide range of benefits that aim to keep employees physically and mentally healthy. Some common health and wellness benefits include:

Health insurance

Offering comprehensive health insurance can provide employees with access to medical services, preventive care, and financial protection in case of illness or injury.

Wellness programmes

There are lots of things employers can do to promote wellness. Even if you are a small or medium set up, there are steps you can take to show your young recruits that you take wellness seriously.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle shows your team of staff that you value their presence in the workplace. And it is beneficial for you because a healthy, motivated staff is more productive. 

Offering gym memberships, nutrition counselling, programmes to help staff quit smoking are just a few of the ideas out there. But wellness needn’t be costly, either. It can be as simple as encouraging staff to take their breaks and to move away from their desk and go for a walk outdoors when they do take breaks.

Mental health support

Providing access to mental health services, such as counselling and therapy is crucial for addressing the emotional well-being of employees.

Young people will look for evidence that the employer is genuinely supportive of the workforce before applying for jobs.

Educational & professional development benefits

When applying for jobs, young people want to know that you are going to be investing in their continued professional development once they are working in your company.

Continual learning and professional development are key to an employee’s long-term career growth. Many young people might not have the skills you are looking for just yet – but they are in a position to learn. Rather than them looking elsewhere to learn those skills and gain the necessary knowledge, your investment in them could pay high dividends further down the line.

Employers can offer various educational benefits to foster growth and skill enhancement, including:

Assistance with tuition & fees

For some roles, you might be in a position to pay all or some of the tuition fees for young staff to pursue necessary courses that will help them to further develop their career.

For some smaller companies, if it isn’t financially possible for you to pay tuition fees, allowing young staff more flexibility with their working hours to pursue the course might be possible. 

Offering Apprenticeships can also be a really useful way to show young people you are investing in their learnişng and training. 

Training & Development

Providing training and development opportunities within the organisation can help employees enhance their skills and advance their careers.

This could be in house training for your whole team of staff or for individual departments. Outside training centres might also be used where staff can gain skills and knowledge and bring fresh ideas into the workplace. 

Certification reimbursement

Reimbursing employees for the costs of professional certifications or licensures demonstrates a commitment to their growth and development.

Young people are likely not in a position to be able to pay for their professional recognition. Having staff in your team who have their recognised qualifications and professional recognition is beneficial for both you and your team.

Conferences & workshops

Sponsoring attendance at relevant industry conferences and workshops can expand an employee’s knowledge and network.

If you are a smaller company, it can benefit you as an employer if you send your relevant staff to particular conferences or workshops so that they can return to the workplace with new knowledge and skills to share with the team.

These environments are also ideal places for networking. 

Retirement & savings benefits

In the past, it was thought the ‘job for life’ was a thing of the past. Whilst young people now might not necessarily be looking for a job for a life, they are looking to stay around in the company with job security and the benefits that go with that. 

Retirement and savings benefits are essential for long-term financial security and stability. These benefits demonstrate a company’s commitment to its employees’ future well-being and can include:

Pension plans 

It is said that Gen Z are thinking about their future financial security more so than their previous generations. Getting the message across that you are aware of this and have pension plans in place could well attract the best talent.

Employee stock options 

Stock options allow employees to purchase shares of the company’s stock, fostering a sense of ownership and aligning their interests with the company’s performance.

Likewise, this same sense of ownership can be fostered by offering PRP – profit related pay.

Employees feel that their hard work has paid off and also been rewarded and acknowledged.

Savings accounts

Depending on the nature of your company, you might be in a position to offer school leavers and graduates access to savings accounts or other investment opportunities. 

These can be with reduced fees as a perk of the job and can help employees build wealth over time.

Paid time off 

We have written in the past about the problems with burnout in the workplace and paid time off benefits are crucial for achieving work-life balance, reducing burnout, and promoting employee well-being. 

Whilst paid time off can look different depending on the nature of your company, there should be a culture within the workplace that emphasises the importance of taking this leave.

Holiday days 

Paid holidays allow employees to relax and recharge, ensuring they return to work more focused and motivated.This is as beneficial to the employer as it is to the employee. 

National & Religious Holidays

Paid holidays, such as national and religious holidays, ensure that employees can enjoy quality time with their families.

Obviously, for some types of industry, these days are amongst the busiest times for the company and staff will need to come into work. If possible, on these occasions, offering a paid day in lieu can make staff feel more appreciated.

Further perks & discounts

As with other types of benefits, company perks and discounts needn’t be very expensive and they can go a long way to making staff feel valued.

Perks and discounts are additional benefits that provide employees with exclusive access to discounts, services, or unique experiences. 

Employee discounts

These can include discounts on company products or services that can help employees save money on everyday expenses. These are especially valued by young people who might be doşng entry level work or Apprenticeships and are not yet on a higher salary. 

‘Staff sales,’ for example, can be especially useful as they can help people to cut down on their weekly and monthly financial outgoings.

They can also make school leavers, students and graduates feel more like a part of the team if they are entitled to the same discounts as older employees who have been in the company for a while. 

Gym memberships

Offering gym memberships or wellness discounts encourages employees to stay physically active.

As we said above, the emphasis on wellness is valued by employees. If gym membership is too expensive or there is no space in your workplace to create an exercise area, there are other ways to encourage more exercise in staff. This can be something as simple as encouraging walks in break times.

Travel & entertainment perks

Providing access to travel discounts, event tickets, or exclusive experiences can enhance employees’ quality of life. Again, some sectors will have the types of roles on offer that lend themselves easily to this. 

Commuter benefits

If staff do need to be in the workplace, it might be possible for employers to offer transportation benefits such as subsidised public transport passes, parking allowances or even bicycle-sharing programmes.

Special occasion benefits

We have written in the past about the debate as the whether it is vşable to offer your staff the perk of taking the day off to watch a special sporting event, for example.

An event that grips the nation can mean that if you expect staff to be in work, they might not be so productive. Making space to create that opportunity to give staff the time off to watch the event or to be there shows that you appreciate the need for work life balance. 

Embracing benefits in the workplace

If you are looking to recruit young people and you are finding that you are losing out to your competition when it comes to hook that best young talent, it might be because you are not offering the benefits they are looking for. 

And if you are offering those benefits but the applications are still not flooding in, that might be a flag to scrutinise the wording on your job ads. Are you making it clear what’s on offer if someone comes to work for you? Or is there too much job ad jargon that is preventing young people from understanding what the role entails?

Advertise your jobs to a targeted young audience by placing your ad with us at e4s.