Wellbeing & pets | How are businesses pivoting work perks for the modern age?

How are businesses pivoting work perks for the modern age?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the expectations of employees in many ways, from the schedules that they want to work, the work-life balance that they want to maintain and the benefits that they want to receive. And, new research has suggested that employers have responded to these changing expectations and are offering packages that reflect these new employee priorities.

According to a survey from Indeed, some bosses are calling time on using food and alcohol as employee perks. Instead, they are increasingly offering wellbeing-related incentives and dog-friendly offices in a bid to appeal to workers.

With data from Indeed finding that employee interest in remote work is at a record high and workers no longer being told to work from home, work perks are being used as a way to incentivise staff back into offices, as well as recruit and retain existing talent.

Which perks employers are offering

The research found that the proportion of UK job listings on Indeed offering dog-friendly workplaces as a perk has increased almost four times since 2019. Additionally, the offer of allowing dogs in the workplace has kept going up in the last six months, rising by 43% as many workplaces re-opened across the UK.

Free or subsidised travel is also increasingly being offered, with the share of postings offering this perk trebling since 2019 as employers look to encourage staff back to the office following the pandemic. The research suggested that this could be a particularly attractive offer to staff given that rail fares have gone up by 3.8% according to the Government, while drivers are seeing higher prices at petrol fuel pumps.

Wellbeing programmes – including things such as mental health support – appear to be the perk seeing the fastest increase, with a 1719% increase in mentions. This is perhaps unsurprising given that data from Secondsight found that 51% of employees believe that their employer should be offering more support to employee mental health.

The below table shows how mentions of job perks in postings have gone up and down from January 2019 to February 2022:

Ranking

Perk

Jan 2019-Feb 2022

Last six months

1

Wellbeing

1719%

58%

2

Dog friendly

296%

43%

3

Financial advice

294%

47%

4

Exercise classes

280%

209%

5

Free/subsidised travel

221%

13%

6

Gym membership

121%

25%

7

On-site gym

28%

20%

8

Lunch

20%

22%

9

Duvet days

19%

6%

10

Ping pong

-4%

28%

11

Pool

-11%

28%

12

Food combined

-12%

20%

13

Off-site meetings

-20%

-5%

14

Breakfast

-36%

13%

15

Alcohol

-61%

-1%

Which perks have fallen away?

On the flipside, the research also shed light on the perks that were once staples of employee benefits packages that appear to have fallen away slightly.

For example, in January 2020, on-site gyms and free or subsidised travel were the most frequently mentioned perks in job postings, closely followed by free breakfast and table tennis tables. Despite this, the share of job postings mentioning breakfasts as an incentive has fallen by over a third since January 2019, with all food-related perks going down by 12%.

The data also found that alcohol is the biggest faller, with posts mentioning it as an incentive declining by 61%.

How work perks can help HR

While it is clear that employee demands have changed in light of the pandemic, work perks play an important role in both looking after existing talent and attracting new staff into the business.

Data from EBRI found that 78% of employees cited work perks as an extremely important part of their decision-making process when taking on a new job.

Elsewhere, statistics from Willis Towers Watson found that 75% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer if there is a good employee benefits package.

Other data has looked into how this can help HR to attract top talent too. For example, 2016 data from Glassdoor found that three in five (57%) jobseekers view work perks as a top consideration before taking on a new role.

So, while an employer’s benefits offering may change, the core purpose of offering them – to engage, attract and retain talent – remains the same. As Pawel Adrjan, Head of EMEA Research at Indeed, said: “Workplace perks remain a popular way of attracting jobseekers and retaining staff, but they have increasingly been angled towards luring workers back to the workplace since the winding down of the Government’s ‘work from home’ advice.

“Many employers have shifted to a more holistic package to better support current employees and attract new ones," he added


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