How to Choose Your Employee Benefits
20 October 2023
How does your company invest in its employees’ lives? How well do you know the demographic of your employees, their needs and how to create an environment that supports them? People increasingly want more from their employers than just income and these are the important questions you should be asking.
From nap pods to in-house therapists, there’s been a lot of buzz around lavish work perks in recent years, particularly at big tech companies. But what employee benefits are realistic for your company — and how do you choose?
Why bother with employee benefits when I could focus on profit and growth instead?
1. Providing benefits shows your employees you care, beyond a salary for doing the job.
2. It helps keep your team motivated and shows you value their mental and physical health.
3. A great employee benefits package also makes your company more attractive to prospective employees and builds a good reputation, which in turn helps futureproof your company.
What kind of employee benefits should I offer?
Think about who are you as a company and what you stand for. Your benefits need to reinforce your mission and values. For a climatetech, offering an electric vehicle subsidy might make sense. Pettech? Why not offer pet perks or a pet-friendly office. For an events company, then offering credit for employees to go to concerts and shows could work. Lean into your space!
How do I choose which benefits are right for my company?
If you’re very early-stage and not flush with cash, there’s a range of free benefits you can offer. A hybrid/flexible working policy is the most in-demand benefit, plus it demonstrates trust in your employees. The UK’s workplace nursery scheme is virtually free for employers and shows parents you care. Rolling out your equity scheme can also be done early on, which helps everyone feel invested in the company and share in its success. If possible, try and invest in one or two paid benefits alongside the free ones!
Where your company is based is also a huge consideration. For US-based companies in particular, income protection and health insurance are a must. You should also think about how scalable your benefits are. It’s not a good look to offer amazing benefits, only to backtrack later. As you grow, it’s important to keep an eye on your benefits, for example gradually increasing the length of your paid parental leave as you get more funding.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to employee benefits — every company is different. It sounds basic, but the best thing to do is ask your team what they need. It’s better to nail one or two benefits across the board that are of real value, rather than wasting money and effort on a range of benefits that fall flat. If preferable, you can take a hands-off approach and utilise benefits platforms, such as Learnably or Ben, which allow people to choose their own benefits. If you do roll out a benefit that doesn’t work, the important thing is to learn from it and move on!
How do I ensure employees make use of the benefits on offer?
1. It’s important to have benefits, but also to make sure everyone is aware of them. Communication is key — think about how to bring people on the journey with you.
2. You may find that some benefits are underused. Some studies show that at companies with unlimited paid time off, employees actually take less holiday than those with a fixed allocation. Some benefits like enhanced paternity leave and fertility treatment still have a stigma around them. Speaking about these kinds of benefits openly within your organisation helps to create a culture of acceptance and it make the topics less taboo.
3. If necessary, ask managers to encourage their team to utilise the benefits. Highlight when senior leadership do so, as it encourages the whole team to follow their example.
How do I measure the impact of company benefits?
The main way to measure your company benefits is through employee engagement surveys, which should be conducted regularly to get consistent feedback. Regular check-ins are key, but it’s also important to be transparent with it. Share the data with your team and show you are acting upon their feedback. For early-stage startups especially, it’s important to review your benefits regularly and iterate as you scale.
How can Scene help?
Scene helps ensure you have the best employee benefits, compensation packages, onboarding processes and policies to attract — and retain — the best talent. We’re with you for the whole recruitment journey, providing longer-term consultancy services to advise on your entire talent roadmap. Learn more here.