Although most people broadly know what an employee benefits package is, many are left with additional questions. Why are they important? What kinds of benefits do they contain? How can HR departments go about creating them?

Look no further, because we've answered all those questions and more in this comprehensive article about employee benefits packages. We've covered everything you should include in your package, such as:

  1. Health & wellbeing benefits
  2. Financial benefits
  3. Personal and professional benefits
  4. Benefits to improve work-life balance

But first, let's cover the basics.

What is an employee benefits package?

Four colleagues having a meeting

An employee benefits package, also known as an employee benefits scheme, is an array of indirect, non-wage compensation offered to employees by their employers. Basically, it encompasses all the perks, rewards, and benefits employees receive from their employers other than monetary payments like their salary, cash bonuses, commissions, and the like.

Different workplaces offer different kinds of benefits through their employee benefits packages. Some employee benefits are mandatory according to national legislation. In the UK for example, pension contributions, paid parental leave, and paid holiday are mandatory. Otherwise, employers choose employee benefits that align with their workplace culture, company values, and employees’ needs.

Many modern benefits packages include things like extended health insurance, wellbeing benefits, flexible working schemes, specialised employee discounts and rewards, and professional development funding.

How to create the perfect benefits and reward packages for employees

There are some best practices to keep in mind when putting together the perfect employee benefits package for your business. We've outlined those that we think are the most essential below. Many employers forget these key steps, so avoid making that mistake and keep reading.

1. Get employee feedback

Rather than simply deciding to offer certain benefits, consult your team members and colleagues before making your final decision.

When you ask a group of people what their top priority employee benefit is, you're likely to get a wide variety of answers. This is because all people prioritise things differently. For instance, older demographics may be more concerned about retirement savings and extended health benefits. On the other hand, workers with children might be more interested in flexible working schemes and discounts at clothing stores.

All in all, the best way to make informed decisions about employee benefits for your workplace is by consulting staff and determining where their priorities lie.

2. Offer diverse and personalised options

Once you have an idea of the employee benefits you want to offer through your scheme, make sure you've included a good degree of variety and personalisation. As mentioned above, not all your employees will have the same priorities, so it's important you include something for everyone.

Ultimately, you want all your employees to feel like they have a benefits package that was designed with their needs in mind. A great way to ensure this is by using a global platform like Perkbox. These encompass a wide variety of benefits that your employees can pick and choose from, ensuring that your company's benefits are truly useful to your diverse workforce.

3. Use an all-in-one solution

There are many different ways to go about developing an employee benefits package. Some companies select different benefits from different sources and opt for a more DIY solution. While this might seem like a good idea in the short term, it can get cumbersome and complicated quickly.

The easiest, fastest, and most cost-effective way to get an excellent employee benefits package up and running is by using an all-in-one solution like Perkbox. Not only will it be much more straightforward for you (and your employees) to manage your benefits on a single platform instead of several, but you'll also be able to build a scheme that perfectly suits your needs.

4. Communicate benefits to employees

Man presenting meeting to colleagues

Last but not least, there's no point in offering an employee benefits package if none of your employees know about it. In order for benefits and rewards to be truly effective and worthwhile, you'll need to make sure that your employees actually use them.

When launching a new benefits programme (or simply adding onto an existing one), make sure that you have a quality communication strategy. Whether you send out emails, hold a meeting, organise an online Q&A or put up posters in communal areas, make sure you get the word out far and wide.

You’ll also need to ensure that employees know where to direct their employee benefits questions and concerns after the initial launch.

What do great employee benefits packages look like?

Happy colleagues high-fiving one another

There's more than one way to put together a competitive employee benefits package. Most importantly, make sure that you're offering benefits that are truly beneficial to both your employees and your company overall. Take some time to ask the following questions:

  • What essential benefits do I need to offer my employees?
  • What additional benefits can I offer that align with my business and would be valuable to my employees?

In order to help you narrow that down, consider the following categories of benefits. These often find themselves in the best employee benefits schemes.

Health and wellbeing benefits

There are several different benefits that fall under this category. First and foremost, the majority of employee benefits packages offer some degree of extended health benefits, as well as dental and vision coverage.

Nowadays, many businesses are offering healthy lifestyle and wellbeing benefits as well. These kinds of benefits make all the difference in employees' overall health and are highly in demand. Some examples of them include:

  • An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
  • Fitness-related benefits, such as access to a health and wellbeing platform
  • Duvet days or mental health days

Perkbox offers a comprehensive wellbeing platform that provides employees with curated content that has a great impact on overall wellbeing. The content ranges from workout videos to guided meditations to sleep stories. Best of all, all the content is produced by industry experts like Sanctuary, House of Wellbeing, and My Online Therapy.

Financial benefits

It goes without saying that financial benefits are popular as they make salaries go further. There are several different kinds of financial benefits, but here are some of the most popular:

  • Retirement contributions
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Employee discount schemes and rewards
  • Financial planning resources
  • Transportation vouchers or stipends

Perkbox also offers your employees over 9,000 different employee deals and discounts. These perks are available at a global and local level, covering supermarkets, takeaways, electronics stores, home and garden centres, gyms, spas, cinemas, entertainment venues, and more.

You can also give employees an allocation of Flexi points each month. These allow them to purchase extras at no cost - it could be anything from a cup of coffee, to a music streaming subscription, to online therapy sessions.

Employee engagement benefits

Another exciting category of benefits that has a lot of potential to enrich your workplace environment are employee engagement benefits. Not only do they encourage employees to interact and engage with each other, they've also been shown to drive individual performance and foster company loyalty. Some examples include:

  • Employee recognition programmes
  • Team building activities and days out
  • Volunteering initiatives
  • Mentorship programmes

When you're developing a reward and recognition strategy and narrowing down the tools you'll need, Perkbox is the perfect solution for employers who need both a global and local solution. Because employees can send recognition from an app, they aren't limited in who they can appreciate. It doesn't matter if they see each other across a desk or on Zoom from opposite sides of the world, with Perkbox, they can:

  • Send public or private shout-outs and recognitions to colleagues for any reason - professional or personal.
  • Link recognitions to your specific company values (for example, curiosity, unity or trust), which makes everyone feel connected with the big picture.
  • Drive healthy competition by starting team-wide polls (for example, choosing who will be employee of the month).

Learn how you can integrate employee recognition in to your business

Professional and personal development benefits

Woman sitting at desk celebrating

Successful businesses not only hire great staff, but they also invest in their employees to help them become the best versions of themselves. Professional and personal development benefits are also great for businesses because they help them develop great teams and hire from within for more senior positions. 48% of HR professionals in a 2017 SHRM study reported that training existing staff was one of the best HR tools when it came to hiring for hard-to-fill positions.

Some examples of professional and personal development benefits include:

  • Career counselling and future planning resources
  • Funding for professional development opportunities and courses
  • Professional development days and events (such as conferences and summits)
  • Personal project programmes
  • Therapy and personal counselling

Work-life balance benefits

By far, one of the most in-demand benefit categories are those related to work-life balance. Finding time for all the demands and responsibilities that come along with life is a struggle for all working professionals. Fortunately, an increasing number of businesses are implementing benefits to address this issue, such as:

  • Specific days with reduced hours (for example, offering Friday afternoons off)
  • Flexible hours rather than sticking with the traditional office schedule
  • A remote-friendly schedule that allows employees to work from home either part-time or as much as they want
  • Extra time off around life milestones or holiday periods
  • Birthdays off
  • Mental health days

Fun extra benefits

Some employee benefits are just downright fun, and there's nothing wrong with adding a little bit of that into any workplace. Many of these benefits are low-cost and high-reward, and make for a dynamic and enjoyable professional environment.

  • Weekly traditions like a team breakfast, lunch or after-work drinks
  • In-office activities like a pool table
  • Team games nights (this is a great option for remote teams that don't often see each other in person)
  • Relaxed or no dress code days

Download our brochure to get an overview of the employee benefits you'll receive with Perkbox

What will your business gain from offering a company benefits package?

Benefits packages do a lot more than just provide employees with perks. Businesses who offer harmonised employee benefits packages get to reap their own set of rewards, outlined below.

Save money

Just to kick things off, employee benefits schemes have actually been shown to save employers money. A 2020 Buck survey on financial wellbeing and voluntary benefits found that employers experienced savings as a result of:

  • Employee attraction and retention (62%)
  • Behavioural change (45%)
  • Reduced health and welfare consultation (15%)
  • Administration (10%)

So, you'll get healthy, happy employees and save your business some money in the process. Not a bad deal.

Attract top talent

The job market is competitive nowadays, and your business will need to do more than offer an attractive salary in order to attract the best talent out there. Now more than ever, job seekers are looking for a competitive employee benefits package when weighing up their job options. A 2018 Glassdoor survey even found that 60% of respondents considered perks and benefits to be major factors when considering a job offer.

Glassdoor also found that some of the most in-demand benefits for top talent are flexible working hours, medical, dental, and vision insurance, retirement benefits, life insurance, and wellbeing programmes.

Retain employees

Two young female employees talking

Employee benefits packages aren't only useful for recruiting employees; they're also important when it comes to current employee retention. Investing in employee benefits makes workers feel taken care of and increases their overall satisfaction and morale. They'll also feel more loyal to your company and be less likely to look elsewhere for a better job offer.

Tellingly, a 2018 Willis Towers Watson employer-employee satisfaction survey found that 78% of employees were more likely to stay with their current employer due to their benefits programme. Meanwhile, 41% of participants in a 2019 Unum study reported that they'd be likely to look for a new position with better job benefits.

Increase employee engagement

Generally, employee engagement refers to the relationship between an employee, their company, and their colleagues. In a best-case scenario, all of the above should form a sort of community that's passionate, committed, connected, and truly feeds off one another. It's not easy to cultivate but it’s key to long-term success.

It might come as a surprise, but increasing employee engagement can actually be done via employee benefits packages. This is because they foster a trusting, sustainable relationship between employee and employer and contribute to a healthier work environment overall.

Some employee benefits also provide the opportunity for coworkers to interact and get to know each other. For instance, Perkbox research found that 3 of the most in-demand employee benefits were games tables and activities, team sports, and extracurricular activities. All of those options provide great environments for increased employee engagement.

Ready to level up your employee engagement strategy?

Nurture company culture

Company culture is what you stand for. It encompasses your mission, values, objectives, characteristics, attitudes, and even best practices. Great company culture extends beyond how your company is perceived - it should be reflected in your day-to-day operations.

A rich company culture doesn't come out of nowhere though. It needs to be nurtured and refined over time, which will trickle into all the different aspects of your business. For instance, if your company is all about mental health and wellbeing, then these should be prioritised internally and externally time and time again... like in your benefits package.

Essentially, it doesn't make sense to run a company that's passionate about mental health and wellbeing if you don't offer similar benefits to your own employees.

It's key that you keep this in mind when choosing your own employee benefits scheme. Be sure to identify what's important to your company and how you'd describe your company culture. Then, select benefits and rewards that are consistent with that.

Perkbox can help you create the perfect employee benefits package

Ultimately, any company worth its salt wants its employees to feel happy, healthy and motivated. Employee benefits packages are one of the most important tools to help make that a reality. Once your company offers great benefits and rewards, you’ll see a richer, more positive company culture and work environment in the long term.

If you're looking for a customisable, all-in-one employee benefits solution that'll meet your company's exact needs, look no further. Click here to join the 3,500 businesses who already trust us and give Perkbox a try.

To learn more about how to create a healthy employee benefits programme, see our HR health check brochure.

Employee benefits packages: your FAQs answered

What is normally included in a benefits package?

When building your employee benefits package, we recommend choosing a range of perks and discounts that aim to enhance your employees' mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. In addition to this though, you should consider adapting your policies to include things such as flexible working, sabbaticals, or anything else that can help your teams have a better work-life balance. Introducing benefits that focus on your employees' health and happiness not only boosts retention but can also make your company more appealing to prospective job applicants.

What are the top 3 most sought after employee benefits?

How do you talk to employees about benefits?

Offer a flexible employee benefits with Perkbox

Having the right work perks and benefits can have a huge impact on talent attraction, engagement and retention.

  • Help your employees save money with discounts at over 9,000 providers worldwide 
  • Support employee wellbeing with access to digital wellbeing and fitness content
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