One of the key roles a Human Resources manager has in an organisation is to influence and shape the employee benefits packages which are offered. This can be one of the hardest tasks of all since pleasing everybody at once is like keeping a dozen plates spinning at the same time. No two employees are the same, yet there are definitely a few “types” of employee. In this blog post, I break down 5 types employees that are probably already within your organisation and detail what kinds of benefits package would be most effective to offer to them.
1. The parent
A massive number of the UK workforce are more than just workers – they are parents as well. That makes it surprising, therefore, to find out that only 4% of workplaces offer facilities such as childcare and on-site baby changing. The Global Employee Benefits Watch 2014 report asked 150 HR professionals about their employee benefits offerings and found that just one in 25 workplaces have such family-friendly services on offer.
Childcare can be costly, which is probably why most employers are put off by the thought of providing it as an employee benefit, but think for a moment of just how much parents would appreciate such an offering! Few parents would ever leave your organisation with such a great service on offer, which is why childcare and other programmes to support families are worth considering for the parents in your business.
Similarly, offering flexible working will go down a treat with parents. They need to manage their time between work and their family and sometimes the 9-5 schedule just doesn’t fit. Offering flexible working helps them out and also means your company can keep its best staff whereas they may otherwise just leave.
2. The “Isn’t he/she retired yet?” member of staff
Every workplace has one employee who is part of the furniture. Nobody quite knows when they started and nobody quite knows how old they are. In fact, some of your staff probably think that they are already past retirement age or at least getting close to it.These are the types of employee who will really appreciate a benefit like a corporate pension.With the UK’s recent auto enrolment legislation, most workers are now required to be enrolled in a pension scheme, but you can improve on that and offer a scheme where the employer pays even higher contributions to those members of staff coming up for retirement in the very near future. Such a gesture will keep them from worrying about their retirement income at an age when most of us begin to realise that our pension pot isn’t quite as large as we’d always imagined.
You may ask where the value in such an investment is if the whole point of employee benefits is to keep staff loyal enough to stay at the company? Surely investing so much in employees who are about to leave is a waste? Well, it’s not at all! Your younger employees will see the large pension contributions offered to senior staff and think “I want a piece of that!” If they know that staying committed to the company will earn them higher contributions in a few decades time then they’ll be less likely to depart.
3. The good guy
How many times have you been asked to donate to charity in the last month? Now think about how many times you were asked to give to charity in the same month ten years ago.You might not be able to quite remember that far back, but chances are that you were faced with a lot less charitable people looking for you to donate to something. That’s probably because there were a lot less charitable people. As an employer, you should encourage the do-gooders in your organisation and there is an opportunity here to offer an employee benefit that really is appreciated. Whether your staff members are climbing mountains, running marathons, swimming through oceans, jumping out of planes, cycling the country or even holding a bake sale, you can contribute. By offering to donate to your staff’s causes or (and this is sometimes even more appreciated) giving them the time off work they need to carry out their charity work you will be keeping your employees happy in a very engaging way.
4. The Gen Y
Generation Y currently makes up a third of the global workforce and that fraction is only set to increase in the coming decades. It’s vital, therefore, that your company is addressing their wants and desires with your benefits offering. This generation is ambitious and knows what it wants. Whether it’s a year out to go and see Asia or the chance to learn a language or learn how to code websites, Gen Y knows what it wants and goes and gets it. As an employer, you generally have two choices: stand in the way, or help them achieve their goals.
Obviously the latter is the way an HR manager should be thinking and it isn’t that difficult or costly to be the helpful employer which helps its employees to achieve their extra-curricular goals. So offer your staff a sabbatical when they want to go travelling. It’s better than permanently losing and pay for their French lessons. Companies have been putting their staff on courses for years, but usually ones that are relevant to their job. Allowing them to study something just for them shows real loyalty and this is usually replicated.
5. The first-time-buyer
At some stage in their career, your employees are going to want to buy their first house. They may be older or younger when they think about doing so and are able to do so, but sooner or later this is going to be the biggest concern they have in their lives. Rather than yet another set of discount vouchers from their employer, what these first-time-buyers would really appreciate is some property advice. So why not give it to them? Hiring a mortgage adviser to come and visit your staff and discuss their options is a smart, practical and actually fairly low-cost way to help your employees out with something that they really care about. You’ll know that your staff are in good hands and know that they’ll appreciate what you’re doing for them so, once again, everybody wins!
I hope these tips have helped break down some of the demographics of today’s workforce and open some eyes into what can be achieved with smart and relevant employee benefits. About the author:
Euan McTear is the marketing manager of Glasgow-based employee benefits adviser Davidson Asset Management and is, therefore, in regular contact with HR and Finance Directors, learning what they and their staff want from their employee benefits.
–The HR Revolution Blogger