Survey Results: The Benefits & Rewards SME Workers Want the Most
When thinking about employee benefits, we often imagine big flashy insurances such as Business Health Insurance.
Insurance policies are indeed popular. Around 1 in 3 workers want employers to introduce them according to a new survey from insurance adviser Drewberry.
However, there are many other, smaller benefits that are also in demand that employers might not have considered, even though they’re often more affordable than an insurance policy.
In order of employee demand from the above survey, this includes benefits that:
- Manage / maintain health and wellbeing (51.1%)
- Train / educate in areas relevant to workers’ career aspirations (46.4%)
- Provide gifts / rewards for use outside work, e.g. discounts / event tickets (40.4%)
- Provide financial support / knowledge (36.9%)
- Involve socialising with coworkers and employee entertainment (21.1%)
- Offer the chance to donate to charities or perform volunteer work (17.3%).
Managing Health & Wellbeing
Again, the main benefits people tend to think of here are Business Health Insurance or maybe a Cash Health Plan. Indeed, 35.3% of workers wanted employers to offer Business Health Insurance, while 17.1% wanted bosses to introduce a Health Cash Plan.
Yet these benefits aren’t the only options in this area. What’s more, they can be expensive for small businesses, especially in the era of COVID-depressed earnings.
For other health and wellbeing benefits, worker demand is as follows:
- Counselling (17.9%)
- Health and wellbeing apps (14.1%)
- Virtual GP services (13.5%).
At this point, it’s important to note that benefits such as virtual GP services can come free with some workplace insurances, such as Death in Service Cover. This is one of the cheaper employee benefits, usually costing much less than Business Health Insurance, yet can still provide many sought-after benefits to help manage workers’ health and wellbeing. Access to virtual GP services is also available through the Remus benefits platform.
Training & Education Benefits
Employees want to learn and progress. That’s why access to training and education benefits are so popular. More than 1 in 3 workers said lack of opportunity for career development made them unhappy at work, while over a quarter said that career advancement opportunities were important when seeking a new role.
Moreover, upskilling your workforce can improve productivity and offer easier access to skills within your business without the hassle and expense of hiring externally.
This could be as simple as paying for professional qualifications and exams, or even offering to cover the costs of an Open University course or similar.
You can include clauses requiring employees to stay within the company for a set period after completing the qualification you’ve paid for or pay back the funding you provided if they leave earlier.
Gifts & Rewards
There are many different ways to show employees you care. One such option is gifts or rewards, such as discounts they can use in their own time.
18.4% of employees wanted employers to offer retail and leisure activity discounts, while 19.6% were keen for bosses to provide discounted gym memberships.
Gym membership discounts are a great way to encourage employees to stay healthy. Increased physical activity means a healthier workforce, which in turn tends to be happier and face lower rates of sickness absence.
Financial Support & Knowledge
Money worries consistently top the list of things stressing workers out. Fully 52% of employees said money caused them stress, making it second only to work as employees’ main source of stress in their daily lives.
Employees who constantly worry about money may be less productive during working hours. Fortunately, employers can help with financial education benefits. This might involve workshops or webinars with financial advisers to educate employees about their finances, from debt worries to saving for the future.
Some of the top benefits workers wanted in this area include:
- Free snacks (22.7%)
- Casual dress code (20%)
- Free bar (10.4%).
Moreover, when employees were asked what made them happy at work, 51.6% of workers said their colleagues, making coworkers the most important factor in keeping staff happy.
Of course, with the pandemic, making your workplace welcoming for employees may seem less important given so many of us are working remotely.
However, it’s still important to show employees that they’re valued and appreciated. One way to achieve this is continuing to offer opportunities to socialise with group activities within social distancing guidelines. Zoom quizzes, yoga, drinks and more are still an option until offices start to reopen.
Charity / Volunteering Work
Lastly, 12% of workers wanted days off for volunteering or charity work. If you can give workers extra time off to work for charitable causes, that’s great. If not, why not set up a charitable donation scheme where workers can donate money to charity from their gross pay, before HMRC deducts tax?
Not Every Benefit Must Be Insurance…
Overall, it’s clear that employees want a wide range of benefits beyond the main group risk and Health Insurance policies.
With so many other options available, and employee demand notable, it’s worth thinking outside the box and considering what you could offer your employees to improve their overall wellbeing.