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10 appealing employee benefits companies should consider

Employers understand that they play a huge role when it comes to helping their employees succeed both in and out of the workplace. But you may be wondering: how do we support every individual’s needs when we have a rapidly growing organisation? The answer lies in employee benefits.

Employee benefits are additional forms of compensation that are provided to employees in addition to their salaries. They’re a great way to address the needs of your workers and can easily be scaled. To ensure that you’re only investing in the most impactful offerings, we put together a list of 10 employee benefits that we believe will have the most positive effect on your workforce.

Why are employee benefits important? 

The average employee spends one-third of his or her life at work. Given this, workers have very limited time to tend to other aspects of their life – whether that’s family, personal passions, or health. By offering a variety of benefits, employers can make this balancing act a bit easier for their employees by providing them with the resources, tools, or opportunities needed to take care of their personal and professional needs. 

There are business advantages to offering employee benefits as well. These types of offerings have been proven to improve company culture, boost productivity, and increase retention rates – all of which can lead to significant cost savings for your organisation. 

Below, we share 10 types of employee benefits to consider.

Mental health

The unfortunate reality is that we’re living in an increasingly stressful world. This is reflected by the fact that more than half (55%) of Australian employees feel stressed at work. One of the most effective ways to help employees manage this stress is to offer mental health benefits. These can come in the form of tools and resources to help your employees relax, work through their problems, and build resilience. 

Examples of mental health benefits:

  • Online therapy or counselling services
  • Meditation or mindfulness apps 
  • Paid time off for mental health days 

Related article: 10 Ideas to help you boost your employee engagement

Physical health

Physical health is an extremely important component of employee wellness as well. Whether it’s helping your employees stay active or better manage any illnesses they’re dealing with, benefits that improve physical health can make a huge difference to your workforce. 

Examples of physical health benefits: 

  • Flexible wellness budgets
  • Subsidised gym memberships
  • Annual health screenings 
  • Chronic disease management or smoking cessation programs

Family 

Juggling the demands of both work and family is challenging. To ease some of the burden, employers can offer benefits that either financially support family-specific needs or make the integration between home life and the office a bit more seamless. 

Examples of family benefits: 

  • Flexible childcare spending accounts
  • Adoption, surrogacy, or in vitro fertilisation support 
  • Daycare center at the office 
  • Monthly family-friendly work events

Commuter 

As businesses start to re-open after COVID-19, we’re likely to see an uptick in commuting. Getting to and from work can easily be one of the most stressful parts of an employee’s day, as they battle terrible traffic or sit on the bus for long periods of time, just to get to their 9 a.m. meeting on time. Fortunately, there are commuter benefits you can offer to minimise the impact.

Examples of commuter benefits: 

  • Subsidised public transportation passes
  • Employee parking spots 
  • Flexible schedules that allow employees to commute during off-hours

Financial well-being

Two out of five Australian workers experience financial stress during their careers. This makes it clear why financial wellness benefits are becoming an increasingly important part of wellness programs for many organisations. Offering benefits to boost the financial health of your employees can help reduce anxiety and help them reach long-term goals like buying a home or starting a family.

Examples of financial well-being benefits: 

  • Financial counseling 
  • Real-time payments
  • Financial education courses 
  • Additional superannuation contributions

Related article: 5 Ways to help your employees improve their financial wellbeing

Professional development

A study found that one of the ‘must have’ benefits that Australian employees expect to receive is training and development on the job. To keep people feeling fulfilled and engaged at work, you have to provide them with opportunities to grow – not only professionally, but personally as well. Benefits are a great way to encourage this type of development. 

Examples of professional development benefits: 

  • Learning and development budget
  • Monthly training opportunities 
  • Coaching or mentoring programs

Flexible work

One of the other ‘must have’ benefits for Australian employees is flexible work arrangements. Increasingly, people are looking for the ability to choose when and where they work. That’s why companies that offer flexible work benefits, such as accommodating remote working options, are likely to attract and retain top talent. 

Examples of flexible work: 

  • Work from home days
  • At-home office budget 
  • Flexibility to set a personal schedule

Pets  

Did you know that 62% of Australian households own a pet? Your employees likely view their dogs and cats as part of the family. This can make it stressful for workers to leave their pets at home all day or deal with a sick animal. Offering pet-focused benefits that relieve some of the financial burdens or allow pets to be in the office with their humans can have a positive impact on your employees. 

Examples of pet-friendly benefits: 

  • Pet-friendly office
  • Subsidised pet care
  • Paid time off to take care of a new pet 

Recognition 

Introducing benefits that are focused on recognizing the hard work of your employees can be a powerful way to keep them feeling motivated and appreciated. There are many types of recognition programs you can introduce to your organisation. 

Examples of recognition benefits: 

  • Experiential recognition program
  • Peer-to-peer recognition program 
  • Company value awards 

Social 

Having the opportunity to connect with other teammates can be hugely beneficial to employees. Not only does it encourage collaboration, but it ensures that people know they have a community to turn to. There are several socially-focused benefits you can offer to encourage these bonding moments at work.

Examples of social benefits: 

  • Monthly team outings
  • Budget for coffee dates or lunches with colleagues
  • Company-wide gatherings or events

Want to give your team access to more employee benefits and discounts? Flare Employee Benefits gives your workforce access to an exclusive benefits and discount platform of leading retailers like Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi and Amazon. Check it out here

5 ways to develop strong workplace community on any budget

Building a positive work environment with a strong workplace community is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. A team that works well together will deliver better results than a team that doesn’t.

Why a strong workplace community is important

When employees feel as though they’re working within a community of likeminded coworkers and managers, their work becomes more meaningful. With a sense of camaraderie comes increasing ease of communication between employees. Simply feeling part of a team working on a task helps motivate people to take on more challenges. 

A strong workplace community is particularly important if you’re looking to reduce your turnover rate. To nurture a sense of workplace community, it’s important to be deliberate and plan ahead. Strong workplace communities grow best when someone is focused on working on employee engagement ideas and events.

5 Ideas to build a strong workplace community

Here are five practical ways you can build a sense of workplace community in your company, and you can do it on any budget.

1. Recognition

Saying well done is a powerful motivator. Whether it’s a hand-written note of thanks, a spot-bonus, quarterly awards and commendations from the top, or peer to peer recognition from and of coworkers, there are many ways to recognise and reward your employees. Key to success is to create an environment where recognition can flow from anyone. 

Making recognition a standard part of your company culture will help create a sense of belonging and appreciation which is a great foundation for building workplace community.

2. Team outings

One of the most obvious ways to create a sense of workplace community is to organise events outside of work, enabling your people to get to know each other on a more personal level.

Regular social events help create bonds within the team and boost employee morale. Your team outing can be as simple as regularly planning to have lunch at a local restaurant or a few drinks after work on a Friday in the local bar. However, the quirkier you can make it, the more likely you and the team will be able to have a good laugh about it afterwards and bond over the experience.

3. Fitness or sports teams

Promote fitness activities to show your people that you are committed to their health while cultivating team spirit and employee participation. There’s nothing like your employees competing together in organised sport to build team cohesiveness.

Get involved in a local soccer or netball tournament and sponsor a team by paying registrations fees and funding suitably branded kits.

Make sure you take lots of photos of your team in action and publish to your internal platforms and social media. It’s a great way to build your team’s rapport, profile and build community exposure. (For ideas to support wellbeing initiatives, see our previous post on wellbeing initiatives for Millennial employees.)

4. Volunteering

Volunteering for a worthy cause is a great way to cement your workplace community spirit. Taking part in volunteering events encourages both the company and employees to give back to the community, while promoting the causes your people care about most. It’s also worth remembering that your Millennial cohort is a group of idealistic, altruistic individuals. As a generation, they are passionate about social causes that benefit the greater good.

Sponsoring a team of employees to do a charity walk, run, or swim not only bonds your employees together, it can help boost morale, and generate positive vibes in the workplace. At the same time, your company gets the kudos of doing something worthy for the community, and ultimately raising brand perception.

But it’s important to take an employee centric approach to volunteering. Rather than specifying which particular organisations you will support, find out what causes matter most to your people and support individual efforts or group decisions. This will this help to encourage team spirit and camaraderie.

5. Purpose-designed spaces

It’s important to provide your employees with spaces to come together socially – whether it’s the kitchen, ping pong table, or informal seating scattered throughout the office. Your people need to be able to chat, whether it’s about the weekend’s footy or solving a specific workplace challenge.

However, while the physical space you work in is an important factor, so too are the unwritten rules of your workplace culture. Even best physical workspace won’t engender a sense of community if your workplace culture is out of step. Your team won’t use those cool breakout spaces to hang out or take a power nap if senior executives frown upon it.

Build your workplace community with Flare 

You don’t have to invest a fortune to build workplace community, but you do need to create structured opportunities for employees to get to know each other.

See for yourself how our platform can help you attract and retain great people with best-in-class employee wellbeing and engagement initiatives. Flare offers a free paperless onboarding software and free employee benefits with access to hundreds of leading retailer like Woolworths and Kmart. If you want to learn more about how Flare HR can support your business and employees during this time, please request a demo.

10 ideas to help you boost your employee engagement

Employee engagement is a concept that most HR leaders are familiar with. And, if you’re like most companies, it’s one that you’ve recently moved to the top of your priority list. But with COVID-19 leaving your employees stressed and disengaged, you may be wondering how to take action in this challenging environment. We share our top ideas for boosting employee engagement below. 

Why it’s important to boost employee engagement 

Before we dive into the actual ideas, let’s refresh our definition of employee engagement. Essentially, employee engagement reflects the level of emotional connection and commitment a worker demonstrates to their company. This isn’t the same as employee happiness. While they’re certainly closely related and have the power to impact each other, an employee can technically be happy where they work without being engaged in what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis. 

Let’s explore exactly why employee engagement is so critical to pay attention to: 

  • Increases productivity. Organisations with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity. It’s easy to see why this is the case. When an employee is truly immersed in what they’re working on, they’re likely to produce better outcomes – especially in comparison to a disengaged employee who may not give their full attention to the projects they’re working on.
  • Reduces absenteeism. A Gallup study also found that highly engaged workplaces saw 41% lower absenteeism. Absenteeism currently costs the Australian economy over $32.5 billion each year, so you can see how this decrease can have a profound impact.
  • Saves on costs. Finally, it makes sense that high employee engagement leads to many cost savings for an organisation. Not only is this as a result of the increased productivity and lowered rates of absenteeism, but more engaged employees are also less likely to leave companies. This means less resources invested in hiring new talent or dealing with the consequences of a high turnover rate. 

10 ideas to boost employee engagement

We put together a diverse range of options to help you boost employee engagement. Feel free to take on whichever tactics make the most sense given your organisation’s current needs, resources, and goals. 

1. Make virtual fun

Remote work presents many opportunities for engagement. For instance, video calls can be used for activities beyond meetings. Companies have been using this technology to create fun, bonding moments – whether that’s through virtual happy hours, costume contests, or cooking lessons. SafetyCulture, for example, launched a virtual pub with multiple themed rooms to create a space for employees to enjoy social time with one another. 

2. Create communities

Many employees may be feeling isolated during these times, which can negatively impact their levels of engagement. To foster a stronger sense of community, companies can take advantage of technology to start virtual clubs like Canva did. These clubs can represent any range of interests, from wine tasting to books to pasta. The purpose is to bring people together around shared interests and create a space for those conversations to unfold organically. 

3. Open up access to leadership

Having the opportunity to engage more with company leaders can be inspiring for employees. So use this time to open up access to the leadership team, whether that’s by having more regular updates from the CEO or hosting virtual “office hours” for people to ask questions. Having employees feel like they’re being seen and heard by executives can make a huge difference to engagement levels.

4. Diversify communication efforts 

It may be tempting to maintain your regular methods of communication. However, given the unusual circumstances around COVID-19, it’s important to diversify your communication efforts. You can do this by increasing the cadence and switching up the channels that you communicate through. So instead of a weekly, in-person all-hands meeting, you may want to consider daily updates in the company Slack channel. Things are changing by the minute, and employees want to know what’s going on with their organisation.

5. Roll out new stipends or initiatives

Your employees are likely struggling with the impact of the pandemic. So if you have the ability to do so, demonstrate that you care by offering out new types of stipends or initiatives. A great example of this is introducing new mental health programs or budgets to create ergonomic workspaces at home, which is exactly what TransferWise did for their employees. This can enable your employees to work better and smarter. 

6. Take advantage of existing resources

Thankfully, we live in a time where there are many valuable resources to help with employee engagement. These include everything from communication tools to HR management platforms. At Flare HR, we offer a free onboarding and employee benefits portal, which includes discounts from leading retailers like Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi and Amazon, that can help both new and existing employees feel more engaged. 

7. Offer flexibility  

There’s a good chance your employees are more distracted than usual right now. Not only are they managing their work schedules, but they’re simultaneously trying to take care of their families and themselves. To make the balancing act easier for them, practice flexibility. This means allowing employees to set their own schedules and being understanding of the fact that working parents may not be able to join 9 a.m. calls because they’re busy getting the kids ready for the day.

8. Encourage time off 

Employees may feel like they don’t have the luxury to take time off these days since they can’t travel. This can lead to burnout, which will eventually cause a significant drop in engagement and a potential increase in health problems. To prevent this from happening, proactively encourage your employees to take personal days, mental health days, or even a few days off for a “staycation.” Even one week of time off can help an employee feel refreshed.

9. Boost recognition efforts 

Investing more in your recognition program is also an effective way to directly improve your engagement levels. A study by Bersin by Deloitte revealed that organisations where recognition occurs have 14% better employee engagement, productivity, and customer service than those without. So whether it’s finding more opportunities to say “thank you” to employees for their hard work or dedicating a budget to rewards, know that a little bit of recognition can go a long way.

10. Prioritise wellness

Finally, supporting the health and wellness of employees should be the priority of every employer right now. If you don’t already have a holistic wellness program in place, now may be a good time to start thinking about one. Or, at the very least, start pointing employees to the existing mental and physical health resources you do have available so they know there are options available to them. 

Even though COVID-19 presents many challenges, this is also an opportunity to strengthen your workforce and boost the engagement levels of your employees. Regardless of whether you start off with just one of these tactics or several, you’re sure to see improvements in the way that your employees work. 

Flare offers a free paperless onboarding software and free employee benefits with access to hundreds of leading retailer like Woolworths and Kmart. If you want to learn more about how Flare HR can support your business and employees during this time, please request a demo

Employee engagement is a concept that most HR leaders are familiar with. And, if you’re like most companies, it’s one that you’ve recently moved to the top of your priority list. But with COVID-19 leaving your employees stressed and disengaged, you may be wondering how to take action in this challenging environment. We share our […]