The impact of an effective benefits package on engagement levels can prove significant, with productivity and efficiency levels boosted, sickness and absenteeism reduced, and in turn, the company’s overall performance improves. In this article, James Malia of P&MM Employee Benefits provides advice to companies looking to create suitable packages for their employees.

The impact of an effective benefits package on engagement levels can prove significant, with productivity and efficiency levels boosted, sickness and absenteeism reduced, and in turn, the company’s overall performance improves. In this article, James Malia of P&MM Employee Benefits provides advice to companies looking to create suitable packages for their employees.

For many businesses, particularly for smaller employers, cost cutting measures have been requisite in order to survive the turbulent economic climate.

However, if austerity measures have caused staff motivation levels to wane and morale to suffer, businesses can help reverse these negative effects by offering a competitive employee benefit package. Not only will this help to motivate existing staff, it also supports a business in attracting the best talent.

The impact of an effective benefits package on engagement levels can prove significant, with productivity and efficiency levels boosted, sickness and absenteeism reduced, and in turn, the company’s overall performance improves.

Attracting the crème de la crème

To help businesses attract and retain good staff and ensure they get the best out of them, it is essential that organisations make employees feel they are receiving something in return and are valued by their employer. A competitive employee benefits package helps a business’s reputation, attracts the best talent and produces results.

But when it comes to creating an effective employee benefits package, what should a company take into account, and what does a competitive employee benefits package consist of?

Creative thinking

While salary is obviously essential, a pound is only worth a pound. So, an employer who has a limited budget to attract and retain staff should seek innovative ways of delivering rewards and benefits that have a far higher perceived value to the employee than the amount it costs to deliver them. There are lots of great products and schemes available, such as corporate gym memberships, employee discount schemes, travel clubs, and even new salary sacrifice schemes that offer reduced priced smart phones or state-of-the-art laptops.

Employee benefits offer opportunities to give staff rewards which do not cost a company large sums. For example, most discount schemes offer substantial saving opportunities for thoughtful shoppers, with better programmes able to deliver weekly savings of around £20, which can generate savings of over £1,000 per year for individual employees. Accumulated over a year, these small savings can amount to the equivalent of an annual pay rise.

A major advantage is that through discount schemes, employees can gain unlimited access to offers and discounts, without the need to alter their spending habits. Schemes often include a range of discounts that appeal to a broad spectrum of tastes, which guarantees interest from a wider audience. Voluntary benefits discounts are flexible and can be obtained both nationally and locally while online cashback discounts add convenience. In short, they offer thousands of ways to save money, and are therefore an ideal addition to any employee benefits package.

Embrace diversity

It is vital to look for rewards and benefits that are diverse enough to meet employees’ individual needs and tastes. In smaller, more intimate businesses, there is an expectation from employees that their company’s benefits will be aligned to their own personal lifestyle and budget. If the benefits are too generic, uptake will be low and the effect will be nullified.

So, employers should take the time to consider their employees and their needs. Then they should use this information to create a package that offers something for everyone. For example, childcare vouchers are an incredibly attractive incentive for many employees, yet at the same time will not be relevant for all. Therefore, putting as much effort into assessing as much as possible the requirements of staff will pay dividends.

Of course, the fewer staff, the more feasible this task will be.

Personalisation is key. For example, those who offer a voluntary benefits discount programme should take time to scan the offers in the scheme and choose those that will hold particular appeal to their employees. Highlighting these across the company, staff will be tempted into action. Local store promotions can link up with the scheme discount to create an extra special deal – this year the high street is full of in-store promotions, so giving tips on how to double-up discount will create a genuine buzz around the workplace.

DIY is not necessary; value can be found off-the-shelf

Having considered what the business and employees’ needs are, expert advice can help establish what is most appropriate.

No longer are diverse rewards and benefits the sole domain of large employers. There has been a recent emergence of low cost off-the-shelf reward and benefit solutions designed to suit smaller organisations and emerging businesses. So rather than trying to manage the different component benefits – which can actually prove surprisingly costly, particularly in terms of time – a more astute approach is to seek out a packaged employee benefits solution.

Create and communicate the benefits

Of course, implementing a competitive employee benefits package to hook in new team members is positive, but it’s also important to ensure that the options are communicated to existing staff. Once an employee benefits package has been integrated, ensure that employees are aware of what is available to them – this helps maintain the morale and engagement levels if they can see the positive options you have to offer them. HR departments should ensure their provider offers numerous tools to support the communication of a benefits package.

There are many ways to communicate a scheme to staff, including leaflets, posters and attention grabbing and engaging content for the intranet. Employers need to incorporate the communication of an employee benefit strategy within their overall plan as this ensures it is not forgotten. Organisations should use an appropriate variety of media to tell staff, perhaps on a fortnightly basis, about future offers. Regular communication, possibly in the format of monthly or six weekly meetings to refresh employees’ minds and offer the chance to fact find, also boosts the effectiveness of a scheme.

A competitive employee benefit package has significant power to not only attract the best, but also to retain the best. For businesses today, loyal and productive employees are their ammunition and can impact on whether a company survives or flourishes.

Employee benefits can be easy and cost-effective - take a look at some of our favourite staff benefits and consider whether they would be suitable for your workforce.