Company bosses are naturally always looking to increase productivity within their organisation while attracting and retaining the best staff. Over the last 10 years, Turner Lovell have been involved in a variety of salary and day rate negotiations for employees and contractors.
Where salaries are similar, workplace perks and comprehensive benefits schemes can make all the difference when it comes to competing for talent. If your company can offer some of the most sought-after benefits you can expect to see an upsurge in interest in your vacancies.
Which benefits are attracting candidates today?
Although every candidate has his or her own preferences, two separate studies have revealed a clear winner in the ‘battle of the benefits’: flexible working arrangements.
Back in 2014, a Towergate meta study found that flexible working was the most attractive workplace perk, with 73 per cent of respondents in favour. The trend seemed to be increasing and this was supported by a more recent HSBC study which found that 89 per cent of the workers they surveyed valued flexibility above other perks.
So flexible working heads our list of the kinds of perks employers are offering in today’s global marketplace:
Flexible working arrangements can include everything from family-friendly shift patterns, holiday trading schemes and personalised start and finish times to remote working and enhanced parental leave.
Of the big corporate players, IKEA, Netflix, Pinterest and Spotify stand out as offering generous parental leave benefits. IKEA offer four months paid parental leave for all employees, regardless of where they are based or how many hours they work, as long as they have been employed for at least a year. Spotify provides six months of paid parental leave with Netflix upping the game with a whole year of paid leave. Pinterest add value to their three months paid leave by including an extra month of part-time hours plus two ‘back to work’ counselling sessions.
For freelancers working away from home, having the flexibility for a late start on a Monday or an early finish on a Friday for the commute to/from home can be a perk that makes all the difference.
There is a lot of variety when it comes to offering employees bonus payments or valuable perks. Some companies shower new arrivals with attractive joining bonuses, others encourage commitment with annual bonuses or staggered payments. The Royal Navy offers an impressive £27,000 welcome bonus in three stages while Facebook add the personal touch by showering new parents with a $4,000 baby cash payment.
PwC’s offer of $1,200 student loan reimbursement is a clear strategy to attract graduates while car enthusiasts can’t help but be drawn in by Jaguar Land Rover’s exciting race track days. Offering bonuses upon project completion or to incentivise retention are always great ways to attract talent over your competitors.
One benefit to be cautious of is an in-house gym as these are rarely taken advantage of and can even lead to resentment if fitness enthusiasts are being catered for above other employees. Instead, consider taking a leaf out of Microsoft’s book and offering an annual fitness or wellness payment which can be spent as the employee chooses.
Private Medical Insurance
Private medical insurance and related benefits have always been appealing to those employees who value security for themselves and their family members.
Additional training helps employees to expand their all-round skill set (e.g. technology, product, leadership, management, communication etc.) or indulge in their personal passions. This secures loyalty and personal satisfaction for your team – freelancers or employees. For example, giving a budget to attend external conferences, attend specialist courses/seminars on the latest industry technology (e.g. HVDC, artificial intelligence, Wind turbines), or reimbursing the renewal of specific authorisations. Not to be confused with basic in-house training of course which is a given!
Glassdoor, the employer review site, saw Bain and Co. join Facebook as the highest-scoring firm on the perks front. Building team culture is high on their priority list as exemplified by their annual two-day World Cup football tournament. Burton offers its employees ‘snow days’ when conditions are suitable for skiing while Airbnb encourages its staff to go sailing. Unsurprisingly, building towers out of children’s blocks didn’t feature in any ‘top perks’ lists!
Employers who contributed more than the minimum to staff pensions (or, in America, 401k plans) rated highly on the benefits scale. It is now a legal requirement for most companies in the UK to offer a pension scheme. However, those companies with attractive contributions we open themselves to more experienced employees who have already built up many years of pension contributions.
Giving employees time off above and beyond their annual leave is another benefit widely offered by employers. The WWF gives its staff members Fridays off while other firms (e.g. Salesforce and REI) combine this perk with their corporate social responsibility programme by giving employees time off to spend with their chosen charity (Salesforce even add an extra $1,000 annual donation to the mix).
Adobe shuts its offices for two months a year, giving all staff a welcome break, while Epic Systems rewards those with five years’ service a paid four-month sabbatical to develop their creative talents.
Although food perks weren’t rated as a particularly powerful draw for new recruits, their provision did contribute to overall happiness in the workplace. Examples include Friday drinks, Monday brunch and the provision of a drinks fridge.
Perks for workers in the field
When designing employee benefits packages, it is important not to forget colleagues in the field. Relocation packages and travel-related bonuses such as travel stipends and discounted return flights are often powerful incentives.
Employers can also help field employees to stay in touch with their families by offering flexible rotation schemes and providing communication tools and packages.
Pick and Mix Perks
If you are unsure what benefits are likely to appeal to new recruits in your sector, another option is to allow employees to pick from a selection of benefits. Here at Turner Lovell, we work with a number of companies in the engineering and oil and gas sector who have an annual benefits cash allowance. Employees can use this allowance to top up a pension, purchase additional annual leave, pay for additional medical cover or to increase their car allowance.
When thinking about how to attract the best new talent, retain existing employees and boost productivity, benefits such as flexible working arrangements and generous pension contributions can often speak louder than raw salary figures. Whichever benefits you do offer will make all the difference in securing the signature of your chosen candidate.
For more help in securing fresh new engineering and construction recruits for your business, contact Turner Lovell today to discuss your requirements.