Perks are fringe benefits, and can include employee discount schemes and free snacks. You should think of them as an additional offering that's separate from bigger benefits packages, for example, health and dental plans. Offering perks and benefits is a very effective way to retain and attract new talent.

After all, it’s the 21st century and job candidates expect much more. Especially as there’s greater variety in the job market and diversity in the ways in which we’re allowed to work. The success of a more fluid job market has brought about a number of structural changes.

One of these positive developments is employee benefits, and how they're changing the way people relate to their work. These benefits are growing in popularity. In fact, a study by Glassdoor revealed that 57% of people would put perks and benefits among their top considerations before joining a company. This shows employees are no longer just considering salaries when looking for a new job or wondering whether to stay in their current role. 

A further reason for this is that for workers, the line between work and personal life is becoming ever more blurred. This, of course, comes with both positives and pitfalls. However, employers can help dispel any negatives by utilising employee benefits to optimise the working day, and life outside of work. 

What are company perks?

Employee benefits or company perks are essential for attracting the best talent in today's job market. In fact, according to the US Chamber of Modern Commerce, 50% of the modern workforce — who are now millennials, will review a benefits or perks package before joining a company.

Providing wellbeing benefits in particular is becoming a necessity, as employers strive to maintain that delicate balance between work and personal time. Nevertheless, a healthy work environment doesn't just benefit employees, it's also a significant driver of retention and productivity.

Let’s start with the bottom line of business — profitability. Of course, an employee who spends their day wishing they were somewhere else will often produce poorer results than an employee who is enthusiastic about what they do.

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And, it's no secret that engaged employees are associated with better business outcomes. Yet, mastering how to improve engagement can be tricky. However, investing in employees with a comprehensive employee benefits package is a great way to begin.

Are perks important?

Physically and emotionally healthy workforces are more productive, so consider providing benefits and perks that remove wellbeing barriers. The two most significant barriers tend to be cost and accessibility. For this reason, you could help by providing discounted gym memberships or deals on online health resources.

When employees see you taking care of them, they know they're working for an organisation that values their time and energy. Consequently, they feel happier at work — and home. Over time this boosts engagement and builds a healthy company culture, which creates a positive feedback loop increasing productivity time and time again.

But how can employee benefits help companies?

Looking after your employees’ wellbeing is a great way to show them you care, but there are a variety of ways to show support, including:

  • Childcare vouchers
  • Commuting allowances
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Buying and selling annual leave

These can all be offered as part of a benefits scheme that’s designed to improve your employees’ quality of life.

Build a benefits package to be proud of with our HR health check: the four core pillars of benefits and rewards

Are employee perks expensive?

The idea of investing thousands per month to contribute to employees’ commuting costs might seem way out of reach for your small business. However, many employee perks can make a positive impact while requiring little financial investment.

Group mindfulness and yoga sessions throughout the week is an affordable way to keep your workers feeling physically and mentally limber. Also, offering flexible working hours and work-from-home days needn’t cost you anything, you might even save money on tea bags for the office.

You can also make bigger statements to your employees, while staying within your budget. This is why we're going to focus on some fresh company perk ideas that range in financial and time commitments — so you can find the ones that are the best fit for you and your company. 

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10 fresh ideas for employee & company perks

1. L&D budget

As we’ve already alluded to, investing in your employee’s skills and qualifications can have endless benefits. Put simply, having more skilled employees is a good thing for your organisation. If your benefits package is already strong, they aren’t likely to take their talents elsewhere once you’ve trained them too.

Furthermore, employees are likely to have higher job satisfaction and motivation if their organisation is investing in their professional development. This can improve engagement, bringing with it many of its own positives.

We're seeing a shift in how businesses think about their Learning and Development budgets, with larger budgets being observed across the business world in 2019. LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning & Development Report concluded that L&D budgets were no longer a major issue for the large majority of departments. So make sure your organisation’s L&D team are well funded to enjoy the same benefits.

2. Salary sacrifice scheme

These are clever benefits that require employees to agree to certain amounts of their salary being replaced by, for example, funds to lease a low-emission car. The benefit here is that both the employee and employer receive and pay less in taxable salaries.

Private healthcare plans are another successful salary sacrifice benefit. Health cash plans can range from affordable to eye-watering, so you can tailor these to fit your needs.

Salary sacrifice means that both parties can save money while fostering a positive relationship that encourages the employee to look after themselves. 

3. Mental wellbeing support

We’ve highlighted a number of times how important mental wellbeing is to your workforce, both from your employees’ personal perspective and your financial one too. Having on-call counsellors or access to therapy are some ways to reduce the financial burden mental health support can incur.

Employee Assistance Programmes are a great way to offer this to your employees. This is a confidential service that gives employees someone to talk to in confidence, to ease any kind of stress or concern. EAPs can offer 24/7 confidential assistance and let employers help their people in a way that employees find comfortable. Find out more about how Perkbox can help support employees' mental wellbeing.

For a low-cost option, you can look at regular group meditation and mindfulness sessions. These bring employees’ focus onto their inner state, which supports their mental health.

4. Monthly lunches

Another relatively low-cost option, depending on what your taste is like. People socialise and bond over sharing meal times together — and colleagues at work are no different. It’s a great opportunity to both show your employees you value and reward them, while strengthening their relationships with each other. Send over a voucher to use in their favourite restaurant, or to keep costs down you can host themed potlucks — either way, a free lunch will get people together, away from their work and help boost morale in the workplace. 

5. Free soft and alcoholic drinks

It’s Friday afternoon and you’re just about to finish this week’s deadline. How good would it be to turn this miniature struggle into a miniature celebration. Or at least relax a little bit more because it’s finally the weekend. This is where you crack open a cold one or some fizzy juice to just take the edge off.

It may seem small, but providing your employees with access to home comforts like this helps to create a happy company culture and a relaxed yet focused work environment. This is one of those low-cost perks that makes a world of difference.

6. A day off for your birthday

Who wants to work on their birthday? This is another nice perk that won’t break the bank. Instead, it’s a nice touch that allows your employees to relax and enjoy themselves on their special day. They will thank you for it.

7. Cinema tickets

Letting off steam can take many forms. And, believe it or not, they don’t all have to involve sweat or alcohol. A great option to offer employees is deals for the cinema, or simply free tickets, in their perks selection. By letting employees choose what they want to see, there's an option for everyone and it's something that can be enjoyed with family and friends.

8. Cycle-to-work scheme

Cycling to work brings with it a number of benefits. Most importantly, your employees stay fit and their carbon footprint is reduced. Cycle-to-work schemes are often offered as a salary sacrifice, as the initial cost of purchasing a bike and proper equipment can set a company back a fair amount. However, don’t let this discourage you. Making it easier for employees to cycle to work can start with just supplying a bike maintenance station at work.

This perk is proving very popular for businesses in central locations. As an employer, whatever you do to make this easier will be greatly appreciated by your employees.

9. Discounts on local restaurants

Who doesn't enjoy going out for food? It's something that your employees are most likely doing anyway, so why not help them by making it a little cheaper! Offering discounts to nearby businesses is a great perk and helps to stretch salaries further. 

At Perkbox we've got a range of local discounts as well as global ones, and this includes restaurants, cafes and the like. Meanwhile, our Flexi Perks allow employees to grab themselves an Uber Eats voucher at zero cost to them. Why pay full price for a full stomach? 

10. Weekly free coffee

Another one to consider if your budget isn’t stratospheric. Or, even if it is, it’s probably understated just how much of a contribution great coffee makes to businesses worldwide. You’re doing yourself a favour by giving your team access to caffeine. Give them a break from the instant coffee in the staff room and treat them to a coffee from their favourite coffee shop instead. 

How do you choose the right employee engagement platform for your company?

What benefits should you offer?

As we mentioned earlier, perks come in all shapes and sizes — much like workforces. This means there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits. Fortunately, there are plenty of HR tools that can help with this. If you've got a relatively young workforce, they may be super interested in things like pub vouchers and free cinema tickets. On the other hand, if you've got a slightly older workforce, they may be more interested in salary sacrifice schemes that help with bigger purchases. 

If you put together an employee benefits selection that doesn't actually benefit your employees — meaning they don't find any value in the benefits or they find them difficult to use — you could end up doing more harm than good. The employees will become resentful and feel that their employer doesn't care. 

Instead, talk to your employees and find out what they like and dislike about your current perks offering. Ask what they might like to see in the future and what could make their lives easier. This way your employees feel valued and you create a strong offering which benefits all involved. 

Ensure there's something for everyone with Perkbox

So there we have it. It doesn't take a genius to know that offering perks is a win-win. Your employees’ wellbeing improves, and that massively benefits your organisation.

If you’re looking for an offering like this and then some, it’s worth trying Perkbox. There are a range of perks for all budgets and business sizes. Plus, the huge array of choice on the platform means there's something for everyone.

Offering perks that align with your company culture is a great way to get your employees to buy into your organisation’s overall mission. And in the fast-moving world of company perks, using a platform that stays ahead of the game and offers fresh perks is crucial.

To find out how you can offer company perks with Perkbox, request a demo


Company perks: your FAQs answered

What perks do employees value most?

This differs between organisations and industries. But usually, employees value perks and benefits that contribute to their wellbeing and development. If they have a family, childcare vouchers would be useful. Additionally, they may also want to supplement their development with courses or would appreciate a discount when shopping.

What are the 4 major types of company benefits?

Are benefits more important than salary?

Get your employee benefits strategy on point

We've put together this guide to give you the tools you need to plan, create and review your very own employee benefits strategy.

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