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Fifty years ago, companies could woo potential employees with the prospect of steady employment and a decent salary. But things have changed…

In today’s candidate-driven market, 57% of candidates list benefits and perks among their top considerations before accepting a job (Harris Poll for Glassdoor, 2015).

Even more staggering is the fact that nearly 80% of workers would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase (Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey, October 2015).

Knowing the importance of benefits; the next step becomes deciding where to focus your spend so as derive maximum value for both candidates and employees.

What’s the difference between a benefit and a perk? And what do employees value more?

Robert Half describes a benefit as a form of non-wage compensation that if not offered, employees would likely self-fund e.g. health insurance. Perks, on the other hand, are ‘nice to have’ additions to an employee’s total compensation package e.g. flexible working hours.

Whilst extravagant perks like Airbnb offering employees an annual stipend to travel the world, often make headlines; research suggests that it is the basic benefits that employees really value. In a Glassdoor Economic research study, it was found that the following three benefits have the highest correlation with employee satisfaction:

  1. Health Insurance
  2. Annual Leave
  3. Pension Plans

But what if you don’t have the budget to offer these kinds of benefits?

Don’t be disheartened, there are always perks! According to Robert Half, the following five perks can have a very real and positive impact on both recruitment and retention:

Workplace Wellbeing Programs – e.g. subsided gym memberships or on-site yoga classes.

Instigating a workplace wellbeing program is not just of value to your employees but has a direct link to performance, with:

  • Mindfulness helping to reduce stress and build resilience
  • Fitness helping to relieve stress, improve mood and boost productivity
  • And proper nutrition for improving cognitive performance.

According to PepTalk 70% of people wish they were more active, 80% wish they ate healthier and 40% wish they took better care of their mental health.

Flexible Working

Maybe you have a few ‘Morning people’ on your team, or someone with a particularly bad 5pm commute …either way offering employees the option to set their own hours (within reason) can greatly improve workplace satisfaction.

Free Food

Whilst Google supply 3 catered meals a day for staff; employers can at the very least aim to provide staff with access to complimentary tea/coffee. For extra brownie points, consider free fruit to help employees get their 5 a day!

Concierge services

Employees are grateful for anything that makes their lives easier. Allowing staff to have packages delivered to work for example, means they don’t have to worry about someone being home to sign for packages.

Travel perks

Whilst there’s little you can do about traffic, there are some ways you can lessen the financial burden associated with commuting e.g. by providing parking or participating in the cycle to work scheme.