The Value of Workplace Perks

While there may have been a time when workplace perks and staff benefits were a hot topic for current staff and prospective employees, new research conducted by CV-Library reveals that today’s workers would rather have the money. The UK’s largest job site conducted its research amongst over 2,400 of Britain’s professionals, and unveiled that a staggering 84.5% of workers would rather receive a pay rise or a bonus, instead of workplace perks. This comes just weeks after Christmas, in a period where money is notoriously tight.

It’s no secret that 2016 is set to be a year where employers will have to fight harder than ever to secure the top talent; these latest revelations may come as a blow to HR professionals, who will likely have to reconsider their recruitment strategies, and re-evaluate how current employees are incentivised and rewarded.

If presented effectively, workplace perks can have a real impact on employee happiness, which is a vital part of keeping a business’ retention rates high. However, when CV-Library asked its candidates about the benefits they receive at work, only 24.3% said they were provided with workplace perks by their employer. Worse still, almost half (48%) of those who do benefit from perks at work rated them as only ‘OK’, while a further 24% admitted that they would actually rather see the money.

Where employers would have once been able to rely on their company’s staff benefits to attract in new candidates, the job site’s latest research has unveiled that 55% of job hunters feel that workplace perks are unimportant when it comes to finding and applying to a new job. Times are changing; HR professionals are working against the tide when it comes to bringing new talent on board. As a result of a strengthening economy, the nation as a whole has seen strong job growth; the problem for HR workers and recruiters is that candidate applications to these newly created roles have failed to maintain pace.

With candidates now job hunting in a flourishing market, employers are having to pull the stops out to ensure they can attract the right candidates and win them over, and it seems that workplace perks are no longer the way to go. Perhaps even more shockingly, 71.2% of workers actually feel that their employers are guilty of positioning basic necessities, such as tea and coffee in the kitchen, as workplace perks.

Though the majority of Britain’s professionals aren’t offered benefits by their employers, it has been revealed that a staggering 88.9% believe that businesses should be offering workplace perks to their staff. Perhaps the most important thing for employers to realise is that when given the choice between workplace perks or cash, the majority will opt for the money. However, if workplace benefits are positioned alongside a fair salary, they will more often than not be gratefully received. With more British workers spending time in the workplace than ever before, employers should be mindful of keeping their staff happy and productive.

When asked to choose their preferred workplace perks, Britain’s professionals ranked more holiday at the top of the list, with almost a quarter (23.7%) choosing this as their favourite perks. Other popular choices included early finishes (17.1%), money savers, e.g. gym memberships (17.1%), free food such as breakfast or lunch (16.3%) and travel tickets to help with commutes (10.3.%), suggesting that workers place more importance on benefits that will improve their work/life balance, or will help them financially.

Furthermore, the nation’s employees have noticed that businesses are trying to up the ante with the perks that they offer, with some employers choosing to offer their staff ‘quirky’ benefits, such as desk massages and lunchtime yoga classes, with almost half (49.2%) saying that they make them happy. However, it’s certainly a subjective matter, with a huge 68.4% stating that they feel these workplace perks are not appealing, nor do they cater for everyone in the business. In addition, almost a quarter of staff (21.4%) are simply uninterested in these quirky workplace perks, classing them as ‘just another fad’.

Ultimately, businesses need to be going above and beyond to ensure that their staff are happy, as this will have an effect on retention rates, and therefore, the company’s bottom line. In providing suitable, valuable perks, employers will stand themselves in good stead when it comes to attracting, and keeping, the best talent.

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