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Australian workers reveal the key employee benefits that bring happiness

7 min read

Key points:

  • Robust Employee Value Propositions (EVP) and well-structured employee benefits programs are vital in attracting, retaining talent, and maximising happiness at work.
  • Employee benefits programs should cater to employees’ diverse needs, focusing on mental and physical health, financial wellbeing, work-life balance, and professional growth. Understanding and addressing these needs can enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Top five loyalty-boosting benefits for Australian employees include flexible schedules, support for reasonable work hours, career development programs, physical health support, and virtual working options.

In today’s highly competitive job landscape, attracting and retaining top talent requires more than just competitive pay. Companies must acknowledge the crucial role that a robust Employee Value Proposition (EVP) plays in cultivating an engaged and satisfied workforce, and how employee benefits are a critical component of an EVP.

To assist Australian businesses, Flare commissioned a comprehensive analysis of over 1,500 working Australians’ attitudes towards work. Released in April 2023, our National Employee Benefits Index reveals the most sought-after benefits by Australian employees.

Join us as we explore the findings from our research and discuss how workplace benefits are vital to enhancing employee happiness. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The advantages of a robust EVP
  • The definition and significance of employee benefits
  • The importance of well-structured employee benefits programs
  • The key components of an exceptional employee benefit program
  • The top five benefits that strengthen employee loyalty

The power of a compelling Employee Value Proposition

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the unique set of benefits and rewards that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to a company. It’s fundamentally the ‘deal’ between employer and employee, encompassing the value employees are expected to contribute, as well as what they can expect in return from the employer.

An EVP typically includes elements like salary, benefits, career development opportunities, work environment, and company culture. A strong EVP can help attract and retain talent, as well as increase engagement and productivity among current employees. 

Why you need a compelling EVP:

  • Communicates a brand’s values around areas like sustainability, diversity and success.
  • Makes it easy for potential employees to align their personal values with the business values and culture.
  • Lists tangible employee benefits, including perks at work, wellbeing initiatives and savings on things like cars, phones, childcare and healthcare.
  • Demonstrates an understanding that the new era of employment is about relationships, not transactions. 

Do you want to know how to develop a winning EVP? Download our free EVP cheat codes. 

Understanding employee benefits

Employee benefits extend beyond mere monetary compensation. They include a diverse range of benefits like deals and discounts, health insurance, leave benefits, and professional development opportunities.

Benefits are more meaningful than ‘perks’. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, ‘benefits’ typically describe more substantial extras addressing the fundamental needs and values of employees, while perks denote smaller, day-to-day advantages such as free coffee or meals, on-site massages, etc. Benefits contribute to employees’ financial security, augment their take-home pay, and ultimately support their and their families’ wellbeing throughout their careers.

“Are you thinking about leaving your employer?”

Employees with benefits were 10% less likely to be thinking of leaving and benefits like gym memberships, mental health support, and remote work can decrease work dissatisfaction by a staggering 25%. This illustrates the potent impact that well-designed employee benefit programs can have on employee happiness.

The power of employee benefit programs

Well-designed employee benefit programs offer more than just a collection of benefits. These initiatives deliver a tailored approach to maximising employees’ happiness and satisfaction by considering their diverse needs and preferences.

Strong employee benefit programs indicate a company’s dedication to the success and happiness of its employees. Our 2023 National Employee Benefits Index found that employees with benefits were 50% less likely to consider leaving their current employer.

Healthcare company Healius is an excellent example of how to customise benefits and pay solutions to a team’s needs. Healius People Experience Lead, Garth, says that giving Healius employees access to Flare’s platform not only benefited its workforce, it also helped the company boost retention and attract new staff. In fact, Healius employees with a Flare novated lease have a retention rate of  98%.

Offering these benefits signals to our people that we are here for them, through thick and thin. It’s one of the key things helping keep top talent at Healius.
Garth HR Manager Healius
Garth Quinn
People Experience Lead, Healius​​

Top five loyalty-boosting benefits

When workers receive benefits, they are 23% less likely to feel overworked, which highlights the profound impact an effective benefits program can have on employees’ work-life equilibrium.

To help employers craft the ideal employee benefit program, we asked Australians to identify the benefits that resonate the most with them. Our findings below highlight, the top benefits that kindle loyalty among Australian employees. In this context, employee benefits focused on work-life balance are crucial for improving engagement. Paid time off, flexible scheduling, and family-friendly policies enable individuals to effectively manage their personal and professional lives.

The top benefits that drive employee loyalty

Revealing the key components of great employee benefit programs

Our National Employee Benefits Index identified the top four areas Australian employees believe a workplace benefits program should cover. These components cater to critical aspects of an employee’s life, including mental and physical health, financial security, and professional growth.

The key components of an employee benefit program are:

1. Health and wellness:

Flare’s research shows that employees with access to a comprehensive benefits program are 25% less likely to feel emotionally exhausted from their work. Supporting your employees’ mental and physical health is a tangible way to show your commitment to the long-term wellbeing and happiness of your workforce.

Effective employee benefit programs often include options like comprehensive health insurance coverage, preventive care and wellness programs, mental health support, gym memberships or discounts, and flexible work arrangements.

2. Financial wellbeing:

Recent data shows that mental health of Australian workers is declining as nearly half feel overwhelmed by debt. Our research confirms this. Although 60% of employees are happy with their current compensation, “financial pressure” remains the most significant source of stress for workers, with 50% of respondents concerned about meeting their current financial obligations.

In today’s increasingly challenging economic climate, employment benefits focusing on financial wellbeing can provide employees with peace of mind, enabling them to focus on their work without undue financial stress. In fact, 59% of workers stated that participating in a financial wellness program gave them more energy to be productive at work. Financial education programs, salary-sacrificing initiatives, and cost-effective novated leasing are all examples of benefits that strengthen an employee’s financial situation.

RELATED: Breaking the cycle: addressing financial stress in the workplace

Novated leasing: the overlooked benefit

While novated leasing may not be the most widely adopted benefit within its category (only 15% of employers offer this service), its impact on employee retention should not be underestimated.

For emerging businesses with limited budgets, splurging on expensive perks isn’t always feasible. However, FBT-exempt benefits like novated leasing can meaningfully enhance employee pay packages by potentially reducing out-of-pocket expenses, especially during economically challenging times.

3. Work-life balance:

In today’s workforce, one in three Australians (36%) feels overworked, and 10% strongly believe their employers demand too much from them. In this context, employee benefits focused on work-life balance are crucial for improving engagement. Paid time off, flexible scheduling, and family-friendly policies enable individuals to effectively manage their personal and professional lives.

At Flare, employee well-being is a lived experience. Our team members are provided with two additional days of annual leave and a wellbeing bonus of $1,000 each year. Employees see it as an encouragement to invest in their health and financial wellbeing, whether it’s buying gym memberships, covering health insurance costs, or engaging in financial wellbeing programs. The wellbeing bonus enabled one of our employees, Josh Loy, to compete in a trail race in the Blue Mountains in NSW.

The wellbeing bonus paid for my race entry fee, new running shoes, and accommodation in the Blue Mountains. It’s so great that Flare can support my wellbeing in a way that works for me and my life.
Josh Loy

4. Professional development:

45% of Australians feel that their employer is not dedicated to their professional development, and the statistics confirm this view. Only about 20% of employers offer at least one type of career development program, such as mentoring, coaching, or leadership development.

By providing opportunities for growth, employers demonstrate their commitment to supporting the professional aspirations of their workforce and seize a valuable opportunity for businesses to get ahead in the race for talent.

DISCOVER: The Flare app provides comprehensive employee benefits management. 

The takeaway: unlocking employee contentment and loyalty

With one in three Australian employees considering leaving their current employer, well-structured employee benefits programs are essential for businesses striving to attract and retain top talent.

Flare recognises their transformative power and is dedicated to assisting businesses in creating an environment that prioritises their employees’ health, wealth, and happiness. Our research aims to help businesses understand how to design benefits programs that provide genuine value and can enhance employees’ work and personal lives, fostering greater engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. But every worker is different. Therefore, we invite you to engage with your employees to understand their evolving needs and specific circumstances. This engagement is vital to building workplaces where individuals can truly thrive and succeed.

To gain deeper insights, delve into our National Employee Benefits Index and join us in prioritising employee wellbeing for a supportive and empowering work environment.

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Discover the power of strong Employee Value Propositions and employee benefits in driving workplace happiness and loyalty.