'Dog-friendly workplace' won't cut it - It's time to audit your benefits package

Employee preferences for benefits packages consistently change, either with the latest reward trend or due to deeper societal shifts. Keeping your offering up to date is key to engagement, retention, and winning the war for talent...
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
'Dog-friendly workplace' won't cut it - It's time to audit your benefits package
Employees want more benefits than just dog-friendly offices

When was the last time you audited your benefits package?

If it’s been a while, you’re not alone. A 2023 Benefex study found just 13% of UK employees feel that their benefits package closely aligns with their needs, signalling many employees are simply not keeping their provision up to date.

The same study found that 96% of HR professionals have seen a significant shift in employee attitudes and behaviours towards benefits over the previous 12 months. To keep pace with these shifts, companies should keep a consistent dialogue with employees to understand expectations and run regular (and frequent) audits on their benefits package.

“The traditional benefits package of medical, disability, pension, and life insurance does not necessarily meet everyone’s preferences,” says Tim Goodchild, Director of Global Benefits and Mobility, Anaplan. “Ensuring we meet employee needs will be paramount in the war for talent.”

Employees want to know their employer cares about them enough to support them beyond basic pay and ‘trendy’ surface-level benefits.

What benefits are popular in 2024?

Packages that peak at ‘dog-friendly’ policies and breakroom table football are simply not cutting the mustard. Even historically popular benefits such as on-site childcare, gym memberships, and social events are failing to capture the hearts of employees.

Instead of fluffy provisions that paper over the cracks, employees now expect employers to offer good quality, fundamental benefits.

Across most reports on employee priorities, the top picks are fairly consistent. 2023 Studies from BHN Extras, Globacare, and SHRM all emphasise the importance of compelling health benefits and developing a healthy flexible working strategy. Earlier in 2023, CIPD research found an estimated two million employees quit their jobs in the previous 12 months to pursue a role with more flexibility.

For healthcare, although NHS waiting lists have fallen in recent months, they remain high, making private healthcare an attractive offering.

Fertility benefits, offered by companies like ClearScore, and menopause plans, offered by companies like Monzo and Royal Mail, represent growing popularity and significant progress in the quality of support for employee health and wellbeing.

Ensuring we meet employee needs will be paramount in the war for talent

Tim Goodchild | Director of Global Benefits and Mobility, Anaplan

Employees are also pushing for improvements in the quality of leave benefits. SHRM’s study found 89% of employees rated leave benefits as “very important” or “extremely important.”

Alongside generous allowances for holidays, employers should also push to update their policies for parental or family leave and compassionate leave, and according to Goodchild, should strong consider their financial wellbeing packages.

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