- Work-life balance is important: Perks that contribute to a healthy work-life balance and give employees more autonomy over how they utilise their time, can increase wellbeing and productivity.
- Focus on overall employee wellness: To support employees and foster a positive workplace environment, employers must consider the physical, mental, financial, social and emotional wellbeing of individuals.
- Tailor perks to individual needs: Offering flexible benefits packages and opportunities allows employees to choose perks that suit their unique needs and preferences. This increases their sense of value within the organisation, leading to enhanced engagement and performance.
Employee perks have been around for a long time, but they are also constantly changing. Free snacks in the office and Christmas bonuses are common examples, but employers and employees alike are now seeking benefits that have a more significant and long-lasting impact.
Getting your employee benefits package correct involves knowing how to choose the right benefits for your employees and meeting their diverse needs. In this article, we provide suggestions for perks that employees actually want and explain how implementing these benefits can make a measurable difference to employee and business performance.
What perks do employees want?
The perks that employees want can vary greatly between individuals and even segments of a workforce. Employee benefits for millennials, for instance, are likely to be different to those that Gen Z employees would choose. However, a key consideration for any employee perks should be the value they’ll bring to employees and the business. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of employee perk ideas that will make a positive difference to employees and their approach to work.
Implementing parent support programmes, such as flexible parental leave, child care assistance and family-friendly policies can significantly boost employee performance. There is a clear link between family-friendly employers and employee ratings of productivity, engagement and loyalty. By offering resources and support for working parents, employers also demonstrate their commitment to work-life balance and employee wellness.
Home office budget
With remote working now more commonplace, providing employees with a home office budget to create an optimal working environment can be beneficial. Ergonomic furniture, equipment and technology upgrades enable employees to create their perfect work environment at home, reducing distractions and improving their focus and efficiency.
One in five workers cite healthcare as a major workplace priority and the importance of health benefits to employees is multi-layered. Offering comprehensive healthcare benefits not only enhances employee wellbeing but also has a positive impact on performance. By providing health insurance, regular check-ups, specialist cancer care and access to mental health services, employers prioritise their employees’ physical and mental wellbeing, resulting in a reduction in absenteeism, an increase in morale and an improvement in productivity.
A survey by MetLife found that half of UK workers would accept lower pay if their employer personalised employee perks. By allowing employees to customise their perks, such as flexible spending accounts, additional vacation days or a self-care budget, employers show that they value and support their employees’ unique aspirations and values, leading to an increase in motivation, satisfaction and productivity.
Implementing paid sabbatical programmes provides employees with extended time off for personal and professional growth, positively impacting their performance upon their return. One study found that those employees who took sabbaticals experienced a decline in stress and an increase in psychological resources and overall wellbeing upon returning to work, compared to those employees who didn’t. Offering paid time off for travel, personal pursuits or skill development allows employees to recharge, gain new perspectives and return to work with renewed energy, creativity and productivity.
Introducing employee share schemes, such as stock options or employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), can boost employee performance by aligning their interests with the company’s success. Giving employees a stake in the organisation’s performance can motivate them to work harder, contribute innovative ideas and take ownership of their roles.
Offering recreation discounts, such as discounted gym memberships or entertainment tickets, can have a positive impact on employee performance. Access to affordable leisure activities helps employees manage stress, maintain a healthy work-life balance and increase their overall wellbeing, which in turn impacts their job motivation and satisfaction.
Providing convenient onsite services, such as a cafeteria, fitness centre or GP clinic can boost employee engagement by saving time and reducing distractions. Onsite amenities minimise the need for employees to run errands or spend time travelling, allowing them to focus more on their tasks and achieve higher levels of efficiency, both in the office and at home.
Volunteer time off
Around 65% of employees say that they are more likely to work for an employer that promotes volunteering, which in turn can enhance performance and job satisfaction. Volunteering fosters a sense of purpose, enhances teamwork and leadership skills, and improves employee wellbeing, all of which contribute to higher productivity and a positive work environment.
According to a survey by CPD, 17% of employers believe that continuous learning opportunities help retain valuable staff, while 65% feel the main benefit is a more highly skilled workforce. Providing avenues for professional growth and skill development can improve employee engagement, enhance their expertise and enable them to take on new challenges with confidence, leading to improved productivity and career advancement. However, access to learning opportunities doesn’t have to be strictly work-based. For example, you could allow employees to sign up to craft courses or attend workshops on life skills, such as cooking or home organisation.
No official work hours
Almost nine million full-time workers state that they would like flexible working arrangements. Implementing a flexible work policy that eliminates strict official work hours can empower employees and boost their performance. By allowing employees to work when they are most productive or when personal commitments allow, employers promote work-life balance, reduce burnout and enable individuals to perform at their best during their most productive hours.
Complementary and alternative therapies
Introducing holistic therapies, such as yoga classes, breathing exercises, meditation sessions, acupuncture or massage treatments, can make a positive difference to employees. For example, a study conducted at the Touch Research Institute in Miami found that work site chair massages helped reduce anxiety and improve brain performance. By prioritising employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, employers create a favourable work environment that fosters relaxation, focus and overall productivity.
Providing employees with subscriptions to relevant professional resources or services can enhance their performance. For instance, offering access to industry publications or online learning platforms can keep employees up to date with the latest trends and developments in their field.
Subscriptions can also be for non-work-related services, such as film or music streaming or hobby magazines, encouraging employees to engage in activities that bring them joy and help them achieve a healthy work-life balance.
A study by Hooray Health and Protection found that 45% of start-up employees cite life insurance as one of the three employee benefits they most desire. Life insurance coverage provides employees with peace of mind and a sense of financial security for themselves and their families. And as there is a link between financial wellbeing and productivity, there is the business case that the cost of employee life insurance is worth the return of better employee performance.
Implementing donation matching programs, where employers match employee donations to charitable organisations, not only benefits employees and employers but also has a wider societal impact. By aligning corporate philanthropy with employees’ personal values, employers foster a sense of purpose and pride in their workforce, increasing employee motivation, satisfaction and overall performance. Companies that actively support charitable causes that mean a lot to their employers can also benefit from an enhanced public perception and more opportunities for external engagement.
Companies can further employee involvement by asking individuals to put forward suggestions for other charitable initiatives such as breast cancer work fundraising ideas or sponsoring opportunities. This will demonstrate to employees that their workplace values their input and places importance on the issues that matter to them.
Employee health and productivity are linked, which is why health-centred employee benefits should be a key consideration for employers. Cancer is a condition that adversely affects the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of those diagnosed and impacts hundreds of thousands of people each year. Our leading professionals offer a range of support types and individuals can learn more about them and book appointments by creating an account.
Perci Health is also here to help employers support employees and their families impacted by cancer by connecting them with cancer specialists via our virtual care clinic. You can find out more about how our care employer programme works by booking a demo.
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