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Employee benefits: "one size" does not fit all

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Fletchers Solicitors were recently ranked in the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies to Work For. Here, their head of people explains the importance of adapting employee benefits packages to meet the needs of today’s diverse workforce.

In today’s competitive jobs market, it’s no longer just about attracting the best talent to a company, but actually retaining them. As the economy continues to improve and pay levels rise, confidence in the job market is on the increase and staff are demanding more from their current jobs. Employees tend to have more positive attitudes towards their workplace and want to remain in their current role when they receive recognition and reward for their hard work. However, when it comes to offering employee benefits packages in order to keep staff satisfied and engaged, it’s not a case of ‘one size fits all’.

So how can employers tailor their employee benefits strategies to meet the diverse needs of staff and ensure they benefit the whole workforce?

Understand what drives employees

The key to any successful benefits programme is understanding that everyone has different motivations and alternative things that will encourage them to do well. With three generations often cohabiting in one office, each age group will have different expectations and attitudes regarding the workplace, and are likely to be incentivised by different rewards.  

Therefore, it’s important to provide varied rewards to offer every employee something that will actually benefit them and make them feel engaged with their job. Taking an in-depth look at each generation will help to gain an understanding into their needs and expectations. For example, some may be incentivised by monetary rewards, whereas others may value flexible working opportunities so they can schedule their work around family commitments, such as childcare.  

Involve staff in the creation of reward schemes

It’s likely that employees will find the reward scheme more relatable if they are involved in the decision-making when it comes to the rewards they receive. Rather than offering one set bonus that applies to the entire company, the strategy will be more effective if workers are given individual responsibility to choose what they would like to receive. This helps to make rewards personal and will give them more value.

This approach will also help bosses understand their workforce better and gain an insight into what matters to them, which is particularly useful when it comes to managing different generations. 

Be open to offering a number of options

The types of rewards that can be offered will depend on the business and its workforce, and there are lots of different options to suit every industry. Offering a wide range of bonus options will help to ensure there is something to meet the needs of each staff member. For example, financial bonuses could be offered to award hard work or good results. But rewards can also come in non-monetary forms such as activities outside work, extra training opportunities, or the chance to earn additional days off.

One particular non-monetary reward that holds a lot of value in today’s fast-paced business world is flexible working, especially with more and more employees aiming for a healthy balance between their work and home life. Many employees will value the opportunity to work from home or claim back any overtime they’ve worked in return for extra days off. For example, the legal sector is a particularly demanding industry, with lawyers often having to work long hours. However, at Fletchers Solicitors, we recognise that our staff have lives outside of the office and also have other commitments. That’s why we have implemented a flexible working policy to give employees the opportunity to take time off when needed.

The business world is a competitive environment and so when firms do attract the best talent, it’s important to take the time to understand how to keep them satisfied. Businesses need to realise that everyone has different motivations, in order for their benefits packages to be effective. Maintaining staff morale through reward and praise will help to improve retention, therefore enabling companies to keep hold of their top performers.

For more information, visit www.fletcherssolicitors.co.uk

Sara Duxbury

By Sara Duxbury

Sara is head of people at Fletchers Solicitors.

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