· Eve Church  · 6 min read

Why You Should Offer Better Employee Benefits in 2021

New year, new you? We’ve heard it all before. But while health and fitness goals often fall by the wayside a couple of months into the year, one resolution you should make - and stick to - is to take a look at the perks and benefits you offer your employees and to see if you can improve on them.

New year, new you? Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before: every December numerous online and print articles tell us that the time is ripe for making lifestyle changes, overhauling our diet, and making those new year’s resolutions that we really, really will stick to this time.

But while health and fitness goals often fall by the wayside a couple of months in, one resolution you should make - and stick to - is to take a look at the benefits package you offer your employees and to see if you can improve on it.

Employees like great benefits. Of course they do. We all do!

Why you should offer better employee benefits in 2021

What your benefits package looks like can very well reflect on your desirability as an employer. And of course decent benefits are not only a great way of attracting top talent to your vacancies, but they can also help you retain your current people.

Add to that these findings of a 2020 employee benefits study by growth marketing agency Fractl:

Fifty-seven percent of people report benefits and perks being among their top considerations before considering a job [and] eighty percent of employees want benefits or perks more than they want a pay raise.

Those percentages alone should convince you that so-called perks of the job are actually a pretty big deal to a large proportion of the workforce.

And while your organization might not be able to afford the cream of the crop of benefits, if the choice comes down to offering basic benefits or offering no benefits at all, you should definitely opt for the former.

So if you’re looking to drive operations and make 2021 an all-round more positive year for both your business and your people, why not take a look at the perks and benefits you currently offer and assess whether they really are as good as they can be?

Why you need to take work-life balance seriously

Consider this; most of the freshest talent looking for jobs falls under Generation Z. And this is a demographic that takes its work-life balance seriously.

These candidates are therefore naturally more attracted to companies who offer decent paid time off and vacation allowances, as well as solid parental policies, and the ability to work flexible hours or from home.

They also appreciate organizations who are concerned about their impact on the planet, and that have optimized their hiring processes -  but those are subjects for another blog post!

The point is, younger recruits are no longer willing to settle for average benefits - and basic vacation allowance and sick leave policies are no longer cutting the mustard when it comes to recruitment and employee retention.

Older generations of workers may have felt like the cat who got the cream if a company allowed them the flexibility to start and finish work half an hour earlier or later than the regular 9 to 5, but most Gen Z candidates wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at that.

So take a look at your policies surrounding flexi time and remote work. Could you be offering a better deal from an employee point of view?

Would allowing more flexible hours work for your business model? Is working from home an option for all or some of your employees, even if it’s just for a day or two a week?

Read more: Your Onboarding New Hire Checklist for Remote Workers

Mediocre benefits = a mediocre impression of your company

As we touched upon earlier, a weak benefit package reflects poorly on your image as an employer. Offering only the standard benefits gives the impression that you don’t really care about the mental health and wellbeing of your employees, or even whether or not they stick around.

It can be tempting to think, “But some of our employees have worked for the company for years - they must be fine!” But are they really? Can you ever really know who is actively looking for a new job?

And even if your employees are ‘fine’, don’t you owe it to them (and your organization’s image) to be better than just okay?

Better benefits create better results - for everyone

Imagine a not-too-distant future in which your company offers some truly great benefits. The likely outcome of offering perks such as duvet days, health insurance and allowing your employees to carry over unused vacation allowance into the next year is that people are less stressed, and not so tired and resentful.

Now the probability is that you’ll have created a happier and more productive workforce.

So not only are you solidifying that reputation as a company people really want to work for, you’re also decreasing employee turnover while boosting performance levels and the quality of work executed - and hopefully your profit margins too!

What kind of employee benefits should you offer in 2021?

Of course, the perks and benefits you offer will need to take your budget, business model and maybe even your sector into account. There’s obviously no point in creating an awesome benefits package that is only sustainable for a year or so.

However let’s take a look at some of the benefits companies could consider offering and see which ones you can already cross off the list - and which ones you could think about adding or improving:

  • Paid time off / a generous vacation allowance
  • Company pension
  • Paid maternity leave
  • Paid paternity leave
  • Health insurance
  • Paid sick leave
  • Dental and eyecare coverage
  • Use of a company car or other vehicle
  • Free snacks and drinks
  • A rewards or recognition program
  • Remote working
  • Flexible hours
  • Duvet days
  • Subsidized gym memberships

Most of the above employee benefits and perks should be feasible for many employers, even those that are small to mid-sized companies. But what could you also offer if you really want to go above and beyond?

Companies that are really upping the ante when it comes to employee benefits may be offering perks such as:

The chances of you offering ALL of these things are probably slim to non-existent, but it’s always well worth sitting down and taking a good look at what you’re currently offering your employees from their perspective and seeing if you can up your benefits game.

And with 2020 being a total doom and gloom-fest and with the new year on the horizon, if you’re in a position to do so, there’s no time like the present to do exactly that.

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