benefitting from more than money

Offering benefits packages, with flexibility to tailor them to each employee, can be a smart way to get ahead in the job market.

It takes more than pay alone to attract the right talent and keep employees satisfied. Randstad research shows that once pay reaches a certain level, employees become more concerned with task rewards and work-life balance, and staff on high incomes are prepared to give up salary to obtain higher levels of non-financial job satisfaction.

The total reward package can include a range of benefits, such as health insurance and individual super funds, and become a key feature of the overall remuneration package. A good benefits package differentiates better employers from their competitors, increasing the chance of attracting the best people.

Flexible benefits can also include holidays and other leave arrangements, company cars, allowances, childcare provision, paid membership of societies or associations, learning and development programs, and financial assistance with employee moves.

As workplaces become more diverse, the standard provision of benefits where everyone receives broadly the same is becoming a thing of the past. Through flexible benefits schemes, employees are increasingly able to choose the benefits that suit them best.

The advantages include the ability to adapt to a changing labour market, better targeting of benefits, enhancing employer branding, and greater awareness of the full value of complete reward packages.

A 2014 global survey by Mercer found that 53% of all companies were offering some sort of flexible benefits package, and 32% of companies had implemented a choice program during the previous two years.

Creating a compelling and original benefits program can be a great way for smaller employers to gain an advantage in attracting and retaining employees. And designing and administering a benefits program that aligns with company values is often easier and more affordable for smaller organisations.

Of course, flexible benefits aren’t always the right solution, so a feasibility study could be a good idea. There are also up-front costs to be considered.

Conventional and unusual

The types of benefits offered are changing constantly. Research shows substantial growth in the proportion of Australian companies offering car allowances, maternity leave over and above the statutory minimum, childcare support and health club membership.

Offering sabbaticals is another growing trend. It’s an ideal way to reduce headcount during a downturn while allowing companies to rapidly restore resources, skills and expertise as things improve.

There are also more unusual benefits such as complimentary fruit, massages and discounted gym memberships. Some companies have started offering ‘peternity’ leave to enable staff to recover after the death of a pet or to settle in a new animal. Organisations can also link up with local businesses to provide discounts at restaurants and the like.

More conventionally, arrangements for train and bus tickets are well-established, while some companies tick both the environmentally friendly and employee wellbeing boxes by offering loans to buy bicycles.

The array of potential benefits is bewildering. Perhaps the best advice is to find out what your employees would value most. 


For further articles and advice on employer branding, strategic talent management, employment trends and employee engagement and retention, visit Randstad's knowledge centre workforce360 today.

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