- Employee needs should guide benefits: Although there will be other considerations, such as budget, what your employees need and will value should be at the heart of your decisions.
- Variety and personalisation will elevate your offering: A diverse benefits package that gives employees some choice will ensure that benefits cater to their personal priorities.
- Consider common and unique benefits: Benefits such as health insurance and flexible working are popular for a reason but think outside the box too. Cancer care, fertility assistance and travel stipends can be meaningful for employees and good for business.
Today, many employers choose to offer benefits above and beyond statutory requirements. Organisations have realised that a well-considered employee benefits package plays a big role in staff retention and attracting new talent. More than that, however, employee benefits also make a significant difference to individuals’ lives. They support employee wellbeing and help them to navigate a post-pandemic world and the ever-increasing cost of living.
Knowing how to choose benefits for employees isn’t always easy. You need to make sure that they make sense for the business but are also benefits that employees want. In this article, we explain how to choose benefits for employees, discussing key factors that should influence your decisions and the types of benefits to consider.
How to choose a benefits package for employees
Designing and implementing the right benefits package for employees takes considerable time and effort. However, it’s well worth the investment given the positive impact it can have on employees and your business. To make sure that the benefits you choose align with your wider business plans, company goals, employee health and wellbeing strategy and the needs of your workforce, there are several key steps to consider:
Confirm your budget
Before you can even begin to create an employee benefits package, you need to work out how much you can spend. A company’s budget for employee benefits will depend on many things, including the sector, how many employees it has and cash flow.
Research has revealed that 26% of UK businesses have a monthly benefits budget of between £101 and £150 per employee. A further quarter allocates £151 to £200 and 23% spend more than £201 per employee per month. Don’t worry if your budget for employee benefits is lower than these figures; you can still put together a valuable benefits package.
Consult with employees
Given that employee benefits are for employees, their needs should be the basis for your final decisions. The simplest way to understand what employees want is to ask them. There are many methods of consultation including informal discussions with individual employees, meetings, focus groups and surveys.
Be prepared to get a wide variety of answers, as individuals and groups of employees are likely to prioritise different things. Older employees, for example, might be looking for benefits that will support their retirement whereas employee benefits for millennials may focus on flexibility and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Research and decide on providers
Once you have a good idea of the benefits you want to offer employees, you then need to look at which services and organisations you are going to engage with to implement them. There is a plethora of employee benefits providers to choose from and the right fit will vary from business to business. When deciding on employee benefits providers, consider the following:
- Do they have experience working with businesses like yours?
- Do their values match those of your organisation?
- What will the employee experience be like?
- Can you book a demo to try their service before committing?
- What support do they give employers at launch and beyond?
- Is their offering scaleable?
Offer varied and personalised options
As not all your employees will have the same priorities, the benefits package you offer must include something for everyone. A great employee benefits package will make each individual feel like it was made with them in mind.
Where possible, give your employees a choice over the benefits available to them. For example, if you are offering a monthly subscription box, let them pick from a range of options. One employee might like self-care items that will support their physical and mental health whereas another might prefer eco-friendly products which align with their passion for sustainability.
Tell employees about the benefits package
There is little point in creating a fantastic employee benefits package if they don’t know about it. For employee benefits to be worthwhile and bring value to employees and your business, employees need to use them.
When launching an employee benefits package or adding additional benefits to your existing offering, make sure that you have an effective communication strategy. This could be a companywide email or seminar, for instance.
Benefits to include when designing an employee benefits package
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for how to choose benefits for employees. Benefits will vary between organisations and should adjust with the demographics and needs of employees.This means that there are nearly endless employee benefits options to choose from, however, the most comprehensive employee benefits packages will often include the following categories of benefits:
Health and wellbeing benefits
Employee health and wellbeing is high on the agenda for many organisations, with 70% of HR respondents of CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work 2022 survey saying it is a focus for senior leaders. Good health and wellbeing benefits should encompass all aspects of wellbeing including physical, mental, emotional, and social. Examples include:
- Health insurance
- Eye care
- Dental care
- Cancer care
- Access to counselling
- Gym memberships
- Holistic therapies
- Fertility assistance
Financial stress can have a detrimental impact on employee mental health so it’s no surprise that 67% of employees want more financial wellbeing support from their employers. Many benefits can support financial wellbeing:
- Financial education resources
- Independent financial advice
- Debt support
- Product discounts
- Subsidised subscriptions and services
- Money management tools
Paid time off
In the UK, employees have a statutory entitlement to time off for things like holiday and parental leave. However, many businesses give employees time off above and beyond what is legally required. Additional paid time off empowers employees to allocate the time to other responsibilities and interests, but it can also improve morale and retention and lower business costs. Paid time off as a benefit can take many forms including:
- Additional holiday
- Unlimited paid time off
- Fully paid sick leave
- Mental health days
- Volunteer time off
- Four-day work week
Other than the aforementioned, there are plenty of other employee wellbeing initiatives and creative benefits that can be valuable for employees and your business. Thinking outside the box can help you cater to the unique needs of your workforce. Additional perks to add to your employee benefits package may include:
- Pet insurance and walking
- Travel stipends
- Subscription boxes
- Entertainment and culture discounts
- Holiday savings programme
- Hobby and craft classes
- Family tuition contributions
Perci Health specialises in cancer care. Individuals can sign up for an account to get access to our latest resources and learn about our cancer specialists and the support they offer.
However, our pioneering virtual care clinic is also designed to work as an employee health benefit that truly makes a difference. It connects employees affected by cancer with a team of multidisciplinary professionals through on-demand online support. Find out more about how our platform works and the positive outcomes it delivers for employees and employers by visiting our employer page.
‘A Boundless Guide to Global Employee Benefits’, boundlesshq.com, July 2023, https://boundlesshq.com/blog/benefits/guide-global-employee-benefits/
‘Health and Wellbeing at Work’ cipd.org, July 2023, https://www.cipd.org/globalassets/media/comms/news/ahealth-wellbeing-work-report-2022_tcm18-108440.pdf
‘67% of employees want more financial wellbeing support from their employers’, employeebenefits.co.uk, July 2023, https://employeebenefits.co.uk/67-of-employees-want-more-financial-wellbeing-support-from-their-employers/‘PTO Benefits – 11 Benefits of Paid Time Off (PTO)’, mitrefinch.com, July 2023, https://mitrefinch.com/blog/pto-benefits/