People are motivated in many different ways, with career advancement and a better work/life balance often topping the list of reasons for wanting to change jobs or stick with an employer.
If the basic salary is at market rate, there are several cost-effective perks and incentives that can be provided to attract and retain talent who are motivated by more than the cash value of a salary package.
To attract and retain employees with a competitive benefits package, you could consider including some of the following:
Extension of medical insurance
Access to private healthcare for the individual often forms the cornerstone of a standard benefits package. If offering full family cover is a cost burden, it is possible to allow the employee the option to extend their membership to their family at your business rate. The cost of this can be deducted in instalments from their net salary.
This can include flexi-time around a set of core hours, working from home or compressed hours. Especially for those who are motivated by a better work/life balance this can benefit performance by improved motivation and productivity.
The ability to increase annual leave entitlement (5.6 weeks including bank holidays is the statutory requirement) is often a sought-after perk. This can be facilitated by allowing employees to purchase extra days or accrue extra holidays through long service.
To appeal to employees' altruistic side, you could consider allowing at least one paid day off a year to dedicate to charity work. There are also several payroll giving schemes available, which allow individuals to give directly from their pre-tax salary to their chosen charity. In some cases, organisations match employee contributions.
If a contributory pension scheme isn't available to staff, you could facilitate complementary financial advice and group-wide access to a pension scheme. The nature of the pension means that employer contributions are not required, but would allow employees without a private pension the opportunity to initiate a savings plan.
Learning and development
Continual improvement is essential to career advancement and one of the most important ways to attract and retain high performers. Facilitating learning and development can include: developing a mentoring programme; regular internal appraisals; access to external training courses. In some cases, educational sabbaticals and loans could also be appropriate.
For employees relying on public transport to reach the workplace, the offer of a loan for the price of an annual train ticket can help reduce their costs. When a vehicle is included in the package, the flexibility to take this as the cash alternative is often appreciated.
Onsite childcare facilities add a fantastic perk for working parents. Unfortunately this can be unrealistic for the majority of UK employers, but an alternative is to offer a childcare voucher scheme which can ensure that employees realise substantial tax savings on childcare costs.
Motivation and productivity can be improved by small gestures that indicate employees are appreciated. A favourite is giving each employee their birthday off or providing free beers and a chance to socialise in the office late on a Friday afternoon.
Perhaps the most attractive option for employees is to be able to pick and choose from a set range of benefits, including the suggestions above, to suit their personal circumstances. Many flexible benefits are run using salary sacrifice arrangements, so if the employee doesn't need any of the benefits on offer, they keep the cash equivalent.
At interview or appraisal time employers can get a sense of what motivates individuals and ensure that they are aware of the available employee benefit(s) that may be of interest to them.