I’m often asked, “what benefits should we be offering?” I think there’s a more important question “What’s the point in offering benefits?”
Why do we do it? To be a good employer? to motivate staff? to attract talent? to reduce turnover? Until we know why we’re offering benefits we can’t even start to ask the question what benefits. Benefits are going to have a cost to the business, we can’t measure a return on that investment without knowing what we were aiming to achieve.
Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can start to research how and I don’t mean going on a Google expedition to see what’s on the market or asking for ideas on LinkedIn. Ask the right questions to the right people.
If you’re looking to motivate or retain your current employees, you need to speak to them, anonymously! Find out what your staff like about working for you and what they don’t like. Ask what they think you could be doing better. Ask what would attract them to another employer. I’ll take a bet the answers aren’t gym membership and a day off on their birthday.
If you’re looking to attract new people, look at what your competitors are doing and more importantly ask those people who are your ideal candidates. Just like when you’re selling your product, you need to sell what people want to buy. Jobs are no different. Just because your competitors are offering gym membership and pizza Fridays, it doesn’t mean you need to.
I’m not knocking gym membership or birthdays off work, for some they are a benefit that offers real value, to others they may be appreciated but not a deal breaker and there will be some who don’t even note the benefits exist. You’ll never please everyone and there lies a key, offering choice.
But, I suspect the answers to your questions will be much wider than this. I doubt gym membership is often a deal breaker. The answers you get are much more likely to be around culture, development, flexibility and work life balance. We spend so much of our time at work, how we are treated and how it impacts on our home life are big issues. No amount of gym membership, cash back schemes and healthcare will stop people leaving a toxic culture.