Strategic employee benefits can significantly impact team satisfaction, engagement, loyalty and retention … and have a positive effect on the standard of their work and effort.  

In today’s competitive job market, employers need to differentiate themselves and actively work to retain their valued teams. 

Good employee benefits ought to improve the quality of your team’s lives overall, not just their experience at work. This means offering more than just a competitive salary and bonus scheme … although these are important too. Benefits not relating to salaries are sometimes referred to as ‘soft benefits’ or perks.   

So, what’s the first step to offering your team good benefits?  

It’s simple really! It all comes down to understanding your employees’ needs. 

Many HR leaders report a poor uptake of employee benefits … why? Because what’s being offered isn’t what the specific workforce needs, or may only be helpful for some of the team, not everyone.   

It’s really important to make sure your benefits are actually valued by your employees. This is why schemes where employees can choose perks are becoming more popular. For example, a yearly allowance for wellbeing means employees can choose what they need the most. For some, wellbeing might mean physiotherapy, for others it could be meditation, and you can’t offer everything to everyone, so an allowance (with criteria to ensure it’s spent on what it’s intended for) could help tailor a perk to everyone’s needs.   

There are lots of options for schemes which offer a variety of benefits. Often these are managed via an app where people can select their preferences or input what’s most important to them. 


It’s all well and good us telling you that flexible benefits are what employees want but, unless you actually ask your team, how will you know what they need?  

A benefit that sounds great to you might not have the same relevance to others. Staff in different age brackets may be interested in different perks. Not every employee is the same! 

What you do – and what you can afford to do – will depend on the size of your business and budget, but good benefits can provide an AMAZING return on investment.  

Here are our key suggestions for benefits you could offer your team:  

  • Health – As GP and hospital waiting times continue to increase, more and more employees  want to work for companies which provide private medical cover; this could include dental care.  These types of benefit could also include access to mental health support such as drop-in sessions or counselling. How about a robust Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) with a 24-hour helpline for anyone who is struggling?  You could also consider Critical Illness Cover to provide employees with financial reassurance. 
  • Wellness – Employee performance is less likely to suffer when staff are supported to take care of their wellbeing. An allowance means that wellbeing can be tailored to each person’s individual needs. Wellness perks could be access to classes, such as yoga or Pilates, meditation or organising regular office massages – these are very popular at vivoHR!  
  • Learning – Most employees are looking for a job that offers career development and the opportunity to learn, so this should be at the centre of your benefits package. It doesn’t always have to be related to a person’s job, it could be an opportunity to learn new skills such as cooking or a craft or a foreign language.   
  • Retirement – What kind of pension scheme do you offer? Are you matching (or exceeding?) your employees’ pension contributions? As the retirement age continues to rise (and rise and rise), people are looking for benefits that will support them later in life.   
  • Life – A ‘death in service’ benefit means that if one of your employees passes away while employed by you, a nominated beneficiary will receive a tax-free lump sum payment. This or other “life insurance” options offer security for your team member’s family should the worst happen.  An IFA can advise on the best options for your business and employees. 
  • Flexible working – A better work-life balance and – for some – less strain on childcare and other family responsibilities goes a long way to fostering employee loyalty. A little bit of give-and-take, especially around things like sports day or the school play, will mean a lot to parents everywhere. Being able to book a doctor’s appointment without booking a half day off will mean a lot to pretty much everyone!   A more generous holiday allowance or the ability to purchase additional holiday are also highly valued. 
  • Financial – This could be financial advice and education; for example, if you have a number of young employees, could you invite a local mortgage advisor to give a talk about first time buyers? Are there any investment opportunities – do you offer any share options in your business? Perhaps you could bring in a Group Income Protection Scheme to offer employees financial security should they become unwell. 
  • Discounts – As the cost of just about everything continues to increase, offering discounts or cashback is an easy way to help your employees. There are lots of schemes you can sign up for which offer a range of discounts, from high street shops to mobile phone contracts, dining out or days out. 

Investing in employee benefits is a fairly cost-effective way to make your business more attractive to skilled candidates and to retain your brilliant team. A good benefits package will reduce turnover. Show your staff that they are important to you. 

Good benefits benefit employers too!   

A few last tips …  

When setting up your benefits package don’t forget:  

  • Communicate it to your team. If they don’t know about their benefits, they can’t utilise them. Publicise it on your company intranet, send out emails, put up posters. 
  • Review and update benefits regularly. Your team’s needs will change, so the benefits might need to change too.  
  • Promote your benefits in any recruitment you do – it’s a great way to attract brilliant candidates.  
  • Ask for feedback. Something might sound great, but is it as good in practice?  

Ultimately, your benefit scheme is in place to help improve your team’s quality of life, creating a workforce who feel valued … and this will be reflected in their work.  

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