Make your employee benefits count!
I am not talking here about financial benefits. If you are a great employer you know the market levels of financial reward and presumably you are paying a fair salary in return for the work of your employees.
Pensions are another financial reward which I know is subject to all manner of pressures, so you may not be able to offer a Roll’s Royce service in this regard. Having said that, if your financial rewards are in the top quartile of your industry then you need to shout them from the roof tops.
You and I both know though that salary in itself is not the reason you are an employee of choice and why your employees will give their best. Lots of research proves that point.
To be an employer of choice, you must market your non-financial rewards and make sure your employees appreciate them for what they are. They are perks over and above the market rate and not all employers will provide them.
Communication is the key here. If you don’t quantify the rewards, then employees may well simply take them for granted.
Some of the most common non-financial rewards which can be effective are health club facilities or subscriptions. Membership of sporting clubs or social activities: Reduced private health care membership. In short anything to do with the health of your employees.
Standing out from the crowd
These can be popular, not just because it helps your employees to keep fit and well, but also it shows you actually care about their wellbeing.
If you have particularly good terms and conditions of service/policies, then make sure you market them to make you stand out from the crowd. For example if you provide childcare facilities, are family friendly and work hard to incorporate flexible working in all its various shapes and forms.
A colleague I worked alongside several years ago has stayed in the same organisation for years longer than she would have otherwise, because the company offered homeworking.
She is one of the best brains in her team and would have no difficulty obtaining a job elsewhere, but the work/life balance the organisation provides is key for her. It has engendered a sense of loyalty as she sees them as an enlightened and understanding employer.
Another non-financial benefit is about career opportunities an organisation provides. It is not necessarily about sponsorship, although this helps; but it is about how far the business is prepared to go to develop the skills, knowledge and experience of the workforce.
This can be about increasing qualifications; providing a variety of job opportunities with regular job rotation; or outlining a clear and compelling career path.
If you have a great media profile, and this can be on a local, regional or national basis, and especially within specific industry publications; prospective and existing employees know this. It is great to be mentioned in articles, and news items.
Location, location, location
If you give your employees credit and celebrate the successes of your company regularly and widely; then this is a clear benefit as these activities will embed your status as an employer of choice and your employees will feel like being identified with you is a benefit.
The environment your business provides can be a clear benefit. If you have swish new offices or if the location is in picturesque countryside then describing this can influence prospective employees. Are you near shops, and are there banks: crèches: health clubs nearby? For some people, location and environment can be deal breakers.
A large organisation moved from a central city location to an out of town office complex with few facilities and for many employees meant further to travel. Nearly every member of staff reported that the move had decreased their motivation.
Additionally when downsizing was announced two of the best employees requested to go, and part of their reason was around location.
Now I know that if you do have to relocate for financial or other business reasons then you have to sell that move well to your employees. But my point is, if you have a great location, then make sure you advertise this and highlight the benefits to your employees and prospective employees.
If you are clear about the holistic offer to your employees and you promote and underline the benefits at every opportunity; you will hardwire your people and prospective recruits to understand all of the benefits not simply financial.
What do you think: Do you have any successful ideas about employee benefits which have helped attract and retain staff?
Christina Lattimer is an HR consultant at HR and leadership development consultancy, People Discovery.
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