Attracting the best people – the value of benefits and job perks over more money
A little research throws up some amazing job perks. A technology company offers £3,500 to its remote-working employees to set up their own home-office, a software giant gives £5,000 to welcome new joiners to its software business, and another company guarantees a 40% discount for online purchases.
Other businesses offer weekly yoga and relaxation classes, free food on a Friday (or even cocktails), a day off on your birthday, and free bicycle repairs on site to encourage a fit and active lifestyle.
While these might be the headline grabbers, there are many other, more substantial benefits available to employees that might influence a candidate’s decision on whether to accept a job offer. How important are the other benefits wrapped up in the remuneration package you offer?
Being cash-rich and time-poor is a complaint that we hear with increasing frequency. Benefits that offer windows of time at crucial periods can be hugely appealing. Maybe it’s just an extra day off to go Christmas shopping, time off for dependent’s needs or a ‘duvet day’ taken at short notice. Flexibility is highly valued for those with busy lives. Flexible working hours that allow time to manage a family are just as important as the pay cheque to some employees. Companies that offer sabbaticals or paid time off for volunteering often find their staff returning to work enriched and revived by new experiences.
Safe and sound
Security also influences the attractiveness of job roles. Packages that include health insurance and paid sick leave, or extended maternity and paternity leave, have strong appeal. The benefits of a pension scheme with significant employer contributions is becoming more highly valued as working lives are extended, and schemes like these become less affordable and rarer.
But ultimately, isn’t working for a living all about earning money? Don’t you, after all, attract the best people by offering the highest possible salary? In some cases, people will be attracted by the big numbers, and that might go hand in hand with a performance-related bonus. High salaries and cash lump sums can help fund projects and trips, pay off mortgages, and provide high-end cars and holidays. Salaries can offer appealing built-in incentives such as incremental progression or reward-based increases.
While everyone at work wants a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, in fact, only about 50% rated salary as more important than job satisfaction in a YouGov survey.
The importance of job satisfaction
Employees spend a high proportion of their lives at work, and they need to feel comfortable with the organisation they serve. A well-known retailer is not known for paying high salaries, but its partnership model means that all employees have a stake in the company’s performance, with a relatively high degree of involvement in decision-making and a bonus that is applied to all staff equally, depending on the achievement of common targets.
Conversely, pay may be high in some sectors where jobs are mechanistic, process-driven and narrow. There may be little scope for career progression, and employees may not feel valued.
New staff will be attracted by opportunities to grow and develop, by a positive and inclusive culture that actively promotes diversity and a sense that they can contribute to the overall goals of the organisation.