The modern workplace is an ever-evolving ecosystem. As we approach the mid-point of the decade, priorities for employees are shifting. So, before we take a look at the top employee benefits, the first question we need to ask is: what do employees want from their workplace?
In recent years, UK workers have placed increasing value on a healthy work-life balance, closely followed by the need to reduce their monthly cost wherever possible.
All of the employee benefits explored below align with these key values. This is incredibly important when considering employee benefits; get it wrong and you may miss out on a huge talent pool, as 54% of employees are willing to take a pay-cut if it means working at a company with better values.
To summarise: people just want to work at a company that reflects their own values.
Rewarding employees effectively is not just a kind gesture – it's a prudent and strategic business move. In 2024, it's crucial to understand what ranks as the best employee benefits. This isn't just about salary anymore; it's about creating a workplace that acknowledges, supports, and enriches an employee's life, both inside and outside of the office.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the top ways companies are choosing to reward staff, focusing on benefits that resonate most deeply with today's workforce. From the flexibility of modern working patterns to the allure of electric car schemes, let's discover how to make your business a top destination for the best talent out there.
#1 Flexible Working: The Modern Way to Reward Employees
In the era of digitisation and remote capabilities, the traditional 9-to-5 workday has been redefined. Flexible working has surged from a niche perk to one of the best employee benefits sought after by professionals; regardless of the sector.
It’s become so important in fact, that 58% of employees would change jobs or industries if they were able to work remotely or in a hybrid working pattern.
For employees, this flexibility translates to a tailored work-life balance, allowing them to navigate personal commitments and mental well-being with greater ease. The reduced commute time, potential savings on transportation, and the comfort of one's own space can dramatically increase daily productivity and satisfaction. No longer tethered to a desk, employees find a renewed sense of freedom, giving them the autonomy to design a workflow that aligns with their peak productivity hours, whether that's an early morning burst or a late-night brainstorm.
Practical ways to implement flexible working for your employees
- Compressed workweek: A normal 40 hour workweek stretches across Monday - Friday, with employees working 9-5pm. A compressed workweek allows staff to work slightly longer hours Monday-Thursday to make up their 40 hours, allowing them then to have Friday off.
- Working from home: Becoming common practice for many businesses, working from home makes over half of workers feel more productive. It doesn’t have to be full-time remote working, with many businesses embracing a hybrid model that sees staff splitting their time between home and the office.
- Flexible working hours: A vast majority of the UK workforce have families, and - as we’ll examine later - childcare can be a very expensive endeavour. Allowing staff to flexibly work their hours lets parents pick up their kids from school and work that hour later on in the day.
But flexible working isn’t just great for employees. Employers are recognising the undeniable advantages too. Flexible working models often lead to reduced overheads, with less need for physical office space and utilities. More crucially, they find a workforce that's happier, more engaged, and often more productive. The ability to offer such flexibility also positions a company as forward-thinking and adaptable, essential traits when seeking to attract new staff.
Embracing flexible working is not just about following a trend; it's about understanding and catering to the evolving needs of employees, solidifying its place as a top-tier benefit for 2024.
#2 An Electric Car Salary Sacrifice Scheme: The Best Employee Benefit
With environmental concerns increasingly shaping personal and professional choices, an Electric Car Salary Sacrifice Scheme stands out as not only innovative, but also immensely valuable. Offered by a number of reputable providers, this scheme allows staff and employers to feel good about their choices. It saves employees £100s every month and gives businesses the opportunity to reduce their emissions without spending a single penny.
Why implement an Electric Car Salary Sacrifice Scheme?
- Brand Enhancement: Adopting this scheme elevates a company's corporate social responsibility profile, positioning it as a trailblazer in sustainability. In an age where brand image is paramount, being seen as an eco-conscious employer significantly bolsters public perception.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: As climate change becomes an increasingly stark threat, businesses are facing increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint in innovative ways. An electric car salary sacrifice scheme is a great way for companies to reduce their Scope 3 emissions without spending a penny.
- Cost-Neutral: While offering unparalleled benefits to employees, this scheme remains remarkably cost-neutral to businesses. Employers can also potentially lower expenses tied to traditional company vehicles, from fuel costs to maintenance.
- Simplified Fleet Management: Transitioning to electric vehicles can lead to more streamlined fleet management, reducing complexities and associated overheads.
- Talent Attraction and Retention: Top talent today values employers who offer progressive benefits. The Electric Car Salary Sacrifice Scheme serves as a magnet, drawing in individuals who seek workplaces that reflect their personal values. Moreover, it aids in retaining employees, as they appreciate the tangible financial benefits the scheme offers.
For starters, the financial incentives are hard to overlook. By sacrificing a portion of their pre-tax salary, employees can access electric cars at a fraction of the traditional cost. With potential savings of up to 60% on a monthly car lease, and a super-low benefit in kind tax rate of just 2%, this scheme is one of the rare cases where you really do get ‘more for less’.
Beyond the clear monetary advantages, there's the undeniable allure of driving an eco-friendly vehicle, projecting a conscious and contemporary image.
It’s not just about cost-saving, though the potential 60% reduction on car leases is compelling. Employees take pride in being part of the green revolution, driving vehicles that not only save them money but also reduce their carbon footprint.
Who should I choose as my salary sacrifice provider?
Not all salary sacrifice schemes are created equal, so if you do choose to implement one at your business, it’s important to pick the right provider.
We’ve written an entire article comparing the top UK providers, as there’s lots of key things to consider:
- Early Termination Protection: make sure both the business and employee is covered in unexpected circumstances.
- Ethical business practices: loveelectric is BCorp (pending). Our objective is to make electric cars accessible to as many drivers as possible, which is why we charge such a modest commission to drivers and always protect our client businesses.
- Transparency on prices: some providers use an ‘accelerated’ payment structure, which forces employees to pay double the typical monthly price for the first 6-12 months. This information is often locked behind an information wall. With loveelectric, you can get an indicative quote directly from our website.
Across the UK, businesses that have incorporated the Electric Car Salary Sacrifice Scheme rave about its success. Not only have they seen an uptick in employee satisfaction, but their company’s image as an environmentally-conscious employer has skyrocketed.
In 2023, with the dual pressures of financial sensibility and environmental responsibility, the Electric Car Salary Sacrifice Scheme emerged not just as a benefit, but a necessity for forward-thinking companies.
#3 Health & Wellbeing: Rewarding Staff with a Holistic Approach
In recent years, health and wellbeing have transcended from buzzwords to pivotal employee expectations. More than just a benefit, they've become a testament to how deeply a company values its workforce. In the wake of global health challenges, this focus has magnified. Companies that prioritise employee wellbeing are witnessing not just happier staff, but a range of tangible business advantages.
- Gym Memberships: A fit employee is often a more energetic and productive one. Plus, offering memberships can foster team bonding through group classes or fitness challenges. It’s also another way to alleviate a small economic burden.
- Private Health Insurance: Primarily an American perk, UK workers are becoming increasingly concerned with the capacity of the NHS. Although a potentially costly addition to your benefits package, it's peace of mind encapsulated for staff. When employees know their health is covered, they can focus more, free from the looming stress of long wait times if anything was to occur.
- Mental Health Support: With rising awareness around mental health, providing resources, counselling, or workshops showcases empathy and a commitment to the overall wellbeing of staff.
Value to Employers
Investing in health and wellbeing directly translates to reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. Healthy employees are less prone to long-term illnesses, ensuring a consistent workforce. Furthermore, mental health support can lead to better team cohesion and reduced staff turnover, saving costs on recruitment and training.
Mental health initiatives can also boost a company's image, positioning it as socially responsible and attuned to contemporary issues, thus enhancing brand reputation and trust.
Begin with surveys to understand specifically what your employees need. Prioritise initiatives based on feasibility and impact. When introducing mental health support, ensure privacy and sensitivity. Partner with established health providers and platforms for seamless integration and optimal results.
For the modern workforce, addressing health & wellbeing isn't just a perk - it's a statement of care and business prudence. Companies that weave these into their fabric are not only enhancing their employees' lives but also fortifying their business against future challenges.
#4 Financial Incentives: Money Talks
In a world of diverse perks and non-traditional rewards, there's something undeniably impactful about direct financial incentives. They serve as a straightforward acknowledgment of an employee's worth, delivering immediate gratification. But beyond boosting employee morale, these incentives offer a slew of advantages that make them a strategic choice for employers, too.
- Performance Bonuses: One of the earliest and well-established employee benefits, bonuses directly linked to key business metrics are a great way to motivate employees to surpass their targets and drive company growth.
- Company Share Options: More prevalent in startups, offering employees a stake in the company not only makes them feel valued but encourages long-term commitment and a vested interest in the company's success.
- Overtime Pay or Time Off in Lieu (TOIL): By compensating extra hours worked either monetarily or with time off, employers show they respect and value the extended efforts of their staff.
Value to Employers
- Boosted Productivity: Direct financial rewards, like performance bonuses, create a clear link between effort and reward. This often leads to enhanced work output as employees strive to meet or exceed set benchmarks.
- Employee Retention: Financial incentives, especially share options, can anchor employees to a company, reducing turnover and the associated costs of hiring and training new staff.
- Enhanced Employer Reputation: Offering competitive financial incentives positions a company as a top employer in its industry, making it easier to attract high-calibre talent.
- Alignment with Company Goals: By tying bonuses to performance metrics, employees' goals align more closely with those of the company, fostering a more unified direction.
For these incentives to be effective, transparency is key. Clearly communicate the criteria and potential rewards, ensuring there are no ambiguities. Periodic reviews and feedback sessions can also be beneficial, keeping the process dynamic and aligned with both company objectives and employee expectations.
For 2024, amidst the myriad of employee benefits on offer, direct financial incentives are one of the most potent tools in an employer's arsenal. They're tangible, directly impactful, and when structured right, create a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.
#5 Childcare & Family Support: The Heartfelt Way to Reward Employees
Employee benefits centred around childcare and family support are the most emotionally impactful. They don’t just address an employee's practical needs. By acknowledging the challenges of juggling work with family responsibilities, employers send a powerful message: "We see you. We value you. We're here to support the whole you, not just the professional."
Embracing Family-Centric Benefits
- Paid Parental Leave: Beyond the statutory requirement, extending generous parental leave symbolises a company's genuine care for its employees during transformative life moments. It provides parents with the priceless gift of time during those initial stages of development.
- Childcare Vouchers: A practical solution to a pressing need, childcare vouchers significantly lessen the financial burden on working parents, allowing them to focus on their roles with peace of mind.
Such benefits resonate on an emotional level. They acknowledge the dual roles many employees play and underline a company's commitment to supporting them in both. The relief, gratitude, and loyalty these initiatives foster are immeasurable.
Why Employers Should Prioritise These Benefits
- Enhanced Loyalty & Morale: Employees are more likely to remain loyal to companies that support them during critical life phases. Their commitment deepens, often leading to increased dedication and a desire to give back to the company.
- Talent Attraction: In competitive job markets, family-friendly benefits can be a decisive factor for potential hires. They paint a picture of a compassionate, understanding employer – a place where many would love to work.
- Reduced Absenteeism: By supporting employees in their childcare needs, companies can witness reduced absenteeism due to unforeseen family emergencies.
Rolling out these benefits requires a touch of sensitivity. Employers can consider hosting focus groups to understand specific needs, ensuring the initiatives introduced are genuinely helpful. Furthermore, making use of internal communication channels to celebrate new parents or share family-centric news can foster a warm, inclusive atmosphere.
As the line between work and home continues to blur, benefits that bridge the two realms rise in importance. Childcare and family support don't just make business sense – they strike a chord with employees that’s difficult to replicate in any other business setting.
Choosing the Best Employee Benefits for a Progressive Future
Amidst a dynamic workforce landscape, the best employee benefits echo a profound understanding of what truly matters to employees. Whether it be the practical allure of financial incentives, heartwarming support of family-centric benefits, or the visionary promise of an Electric Car Salary Sacrifice Scheme, employers today have the tools to genuinely reward and uplift their teams.
By embracing these innovative, thoughtful, and impactful benefits, companies don't just enhance their appeal in competitive job markets; they foster a nurturing environment, boost employee morale, and build lasting bonds of loyalty. As workplaces progress, it's not just about how businesses evolve, but how they make their employees feel valued and heard. In the realm of employee benefits, it's evident: the future is both generous and bright.