For high-tech and digital industries, the modern workplace is becoming more and more competitive – for employers as well as candidates. For highly skilled, desirable candidates, there is often the luxury of being able to choose to apply for several suitable positions. Attracting the right candidates, and offering them a compelling reason to stay is therefore an important incentive for employers.

Candidates don’t choose an employer based merely on the pay and benefits, although this is of course important. There are a number of other factors that come into play as well; the office environment, how challenging the position is, how welcoming or charismatic the interview panel are, the reputation of the company. Employee benefits are also another crucial factor, which is sometimes overlooked by employers when advertising a position.

Make sure that your business is an attractive working environment by paying attention to the following in work benefits:

1) Local discounts

Some employers have now taken the lead in forging links with local businesses and entertainment venues to offer discounts to their staff. These incentives are mutually beneficial and support increased brand awareness for all parties involved. Fitness-based discounts, such as gym memberships or discounts on certain food shops are especially important, as they help encourage a valuable culture of health and fitness among your workforce.

2) Paid holiday

Every employee who works the equivalent of five days per week as a statutory right to 28 days paid holiday. When bank holidays are taken into account the average rises to 32 days leave per year. These are minimum standards of course. Some employees offer significantly more. In general, the more liberal an employer is in terms of how much leave is offered and how flexibly the employee can take holiday, the more positive impression will be made. An inability to take holiday, or the feeling that they are too busy to take leave is one of the leading causes of employees looking for alternative employment.

3) Pension

Most employees will look for an established workplace pension, with generous employer contributions. Being as generous as possible with your workplace pension will reduce staff turnover and boost employee motivation.

4) Health insurance

Insurers such as BUPA and Axa offer competitive policies to employees who take out a number of different packages for their workers. Health-insurance is a valuable benefit and is well worth considering, as it looks impressive on a job advert. However, you will need to advise your employees that health-insurance is considered a taxable benefit for income tax purposes. It is a definite benefit, but is by no means a freebie.

There are many other benefits you can offer potential recruits that demonstrate a positive company culture and present you as an employer who cares about the welfare and enjoyment of your staff. These don’t have to cost the earth, and can range from team days out, to giving staff an extra day’s holiday on their birthday, to providing free coffee on a Friday. By offering employees tangible and thoughtful benefits, your business will soon gain a reputation as a considerate and worthwhile place to work.

At First Base Employment we work with a huge variety of businesses – some I would term as more “attractive” than others. Things have changed over the last 20 years and prospective employees now expect the basics as a norm. For instance, is there a way in which you can reduce the amount of holidays that need to be “saved” for seasonal shutdowns so that individuals still have 20 days to take during the year? Can you look to relax the rules on attending funerals for only the most immediate family members? Is it possible that occupational sick pay could be paid after a qualifying period? (subject to stringent review policies of course).

All these things have an impact on the way in which your staff feel valued when they experience a difficult time and could mean an improvement in the way in which you are viewed as an employer on the marketplace.

For ideas on how to attract the right staff and keep them, please do not hesitate to contact First Base Employment on 01453 755330.

Tricia Hay

Tricia Hay is Owner, Director of First Base Employment Limited