A quick summary:
It may come as a surprise to some leaders, but not everyone is driven by pay increases and better job titles. Some employees would opt for improved employee benefits over an increased salary. That’s not because they aren’t interested in money, but work-life balance and leading healthier lifestyles has prevailed in recent years.
That might sound bizarre to some, but according to a Glassdoor survey in 2015, nearly four in five (or 79%) of respondents said they would prefer ‘new or additional benefits to a pay increase’. And while a few years have passed since this survey, the attitude remains. In fact, you could go as far as to say that better employee benefits are even more vital in the workplace today, than they were in 2015.
What appears to be happening in some cases, is a mass increase in fruitless employee benefits - all with no intention to boost work-life balance or wellbeing in the workplace. However, 2022 proves to be a defining year for leaders, and one that will divide those that offer meaningful employee benefits, and those that simply increase pay and longer breaks.
What we’d like to cover here are four very powerful employee benefits that your team would choose instead of a pay rise. These are four areas that employees (especially millennial workers, as a growing segment of the workforce) would find value in.
Health, fitness and wellbeing benefits
We couldn’t start this off without addressing what we believe to be one of the best employee benefits for the present and near-future workforce: health, fitness and wellbeing. As mentioned above, millennials are vastly becoming the biggest segment in the workforce. And if there’s one thing we know about millennials, it’s their passion for health and fitness. It’s reported that millennials spend an average of $7 billion on health club memberships per year.
This health and fitness trend doesn’t stop there, with monthly expenses on supplements, workout clothing and healthy meal plans all coming in at over $150 for the average millennial. It’s safe to say this particular generation values health, fitness and wellbeing.
Leaders should recognise this demand and accommodate these trends with employee benefits. Not only can young employees cut their monthly expenses, these wellbeing benefits fit around their personal lifestyles.
This is where things get interesting for business leaders, because wellbeing benefits are actually beneficial for both themselves and team members - something often overlooked, or undervalued.
So, on top of offering an employee benefit that is more valuable to staff than a pay-rise, how does an employee wellbeing programme go nicely with a wider perks and benefits strategy?
To begin with, when employees are more engaged with their work, they experience better productivity and performance. Offering benefits that allow team members to focus on their mental and physical wellbeing will see a boost to their engagement with work. And with that boost, comes an additional 17% increase in productivity. Additionally, people are less likely to leave their role when they are more engaged. Therefore, it’s safe to say that loyalty to an employer grows too!
The evidence is there to show that health, fitness and wellbeing benefits create healthier, happier employees. And those employees go on to transform businesses - something not all employee benefits can help achieve.
If you’re looking for wellbeing benefits to support your team with, we’ve created a list of the most popular ten here.
A Purpose-driven role within the company
When it comes to work, it consumes much of our time. For that reason, it is essential people feel like they are contributing towards wider goals and ambitions of their company. If this isn’t the case, many employees will become unengaged or careless about the quality of their work.
To drive purpose amongst employees and make them feel valued, leaders need to embrace the two powerhouses, recognition and incentives. And many are, with employers spending more than £36 billion each year on employee recognition and rewards programmes.
Starting with recognition, this powerful tool for boosting purpose can often come at absolutely no cost. People want to be recognised for their efforts and achievements, and need leaders to acknowledge the progress they have made.
When you combine this with the statistics, however, it couldn’t be more appealing. It turns out, companies that embrace an employee recognition culture, have 31% lower staff turnover. This means by simply showing employees their work matters and that leaders care can help retain talent.
In addition to this, according to Gallup and BambooHR research via this article on rewardgateway.com, the best time to offer recognition to employees is every seven days; and 75% of employees that receive recognition once a month (even if it’s informal) experience higher job satisfaction.
What’s obvious is the sheer potential recognition has despite its simplicity. Recognition will boost purpose for employees, and purpose in our daily working lives is much more appealing than a pay rise.
The most common form of employee recognition is for leaders to express their awareness of the achievements someone has made - it’s as simple as that! It’s also common to share an employees’ achievements with the wider team or business. This not only motivates others to strive for better performance, but it makes the recognised person feel even better about their achievements.
When we think of employee rewards, it's sometimes confused with employee benefits. The difference is, rewarding an individual for their efforts and hardwork is just another form of recognition.
For example, at Heka, we vote on who we think should win an hour each week to finish earlier. This gives everybody the chance to express gratitude and makes everyone feel valued. The reward in this scenario is wrapping up earlier on a day of your choosing.
Other great ways to reward employees for their hard work include gift cards, paid-for courses, plants, books, charitable donations on their behalf, the list goes on! It really depends on them as a person and what they value, but the fact of the matter is that rewarding employees doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be meaningful.
Flexibility at work
Moving on, the third and final employee benefit we believe team members value more than any old pay rise is flexibility.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen more flexibility in the workplace; a lot of which has mostly been driven by government rules. What is interesting, however, is its uptake from businesses that are now positioning themselves as progressive and forward-thinking.
Throughout 2021, and as we navigate 2022, we expect these companies to attract more talent than their counterparts who don’t offer flexible working arrangements.
If anything, many companies have (and will) need to withdraw from the flexible working schedules and hybrid models they’ve been forced to adopt in 2021. Which of course, is very damaging to employee morale and happiness.
Why we believe flexibility to be an employee benefit that’s much more appealing than money is actually in the statistics.
According to this report from Acas in 2021, found that 55% (or over half) of employers expect an increase in staff working from home or remotely part of the week after the pandemic. If these predictions are to be true for 2022, we will see a surprisingly large number of employers being left behind, as their competitors embrace flexible and hybrid working.
What’s even more shocking is this fuze.com report says a survey revealed that “75% of workers believe a flexible remote work policy is an essential part of an organization's strategy going forward, rather than an extra benefit.”.
Ultimately, employers not only have the chance to boost employee performance, but also create happier teams, who feel their work-life balances matter. And with the number of hours we pour into our working lives each day, week and year, the benefit of flexibility is very precious to employees, more so than salary increases.
Offering the right kind of wellbeing benefits
Companies are investing more millions each year into health and wellbeing focused employee benefits, but no it doesn’t have to break the bank for your business!
Heka makes investing in employees both accessible and affordable. We encourage leaders to choose employee benefits that focus on employee wellbeing. Through our platform, teams across the UK access 1000s of wellbeing experiences on a daily basis.
This makes them feel valued by their employers, and for employers, they have a stress-free employee wellbeing programme all ready to go!
We strongly believe Heka makes all the difference in bringing about value, purpose and happiness for employees, and we’d love to do the same for you.
Book a demo with our team and let us show you exactly what your team is missing for a happier, healthier workforce!