One of the challenges facing small or medium business is attracting great talent and holding onto them. “Extensive research shows happy, engaged employees will not only stay longer, but they will perform better and your business will soar,” says Alex Hattingh, the chief people officer of Employment Hero.
Work perks play an important role for many New Zealand candidates. “Perks help you attract top talent and to retain and engage your employees,” says Hattingh.
The most important perks for employees
SEEK recently undertook research which showed 32% of Kiwis believe employee benefits play a significant role in deciding where they work.
The research found the top five perks (aside from salary) were:
1. Health insurance
2. The ability to choose their own working hours during the day
3. Extra time off if you work additional hours
4. Subsidised education, training or personal development courses
5. Free car parking
“Flexible working conditions are important for people to be involved in family activities, for example school drop off and pick up,” says Hattingh. “Increasingly we are seeing both parents working, and this means that balancing children’s needs becomes complex unless you have the benefit of an employer offering flexible or remote working.”
How to successfully implement a work perks program
“If you’re rolling out perks from scratch, the best way to start is to ask employees what they want,” says Hattingh. “Don’t be afraid that employees will ask for everything - sometimes they will!”
Transparency is key when implementing perks. If certain requests can’t be implemented due to budget, let your employees know and try to meet them in the middle. For example, a request for an in-house chef may not be within your budget, but you may be able to provide fruit daily.
Review your perks
“You need to keep revising what employees want,” says Hattingh. “Every six months ask for feedback on what you have and revise your perks plan accordingly. It’s also important to communicate any changes you are making and why.”
Have the right systems in place
“Ensure your managers are skilled and knowledgeable to support perks such as flexible working,” says Hattingh. “You will need the right technology in place. Flexible working is not going to work if your employees don’t have tools like video conference technology and collaboration platforms to make it effective.”
Lead from the top
It’s important for managers to set the example. “A great way to have leaders display flexible working and family balance is to place this in their calendars when they are doing school drop-off/pick-up or attending carnivals,” says Hattingh. “This makes a big impact on employees feeling they too can leave early to be involved in family activities.”
Promote work perks in your EVP (Employee Value Proposition)
Be proud of the work perks you offer and outline them in every job you advertise. Hattingh recommends displaying posters around your office as reminders of workplace benefits in addition to a careers pages on your website where employees talk about the organisation’s perks.
“Use testimonials on SEEK where employees talk about great programs such as flexible working, support of physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, and career development,” says Hattingh.
Regardless of the size of your organisation, you can integrate work perks into your business. In situations where you may not be able to compete with larger organisations on salary, you can still create an engaging workplace for employees if you have the right perks in place.