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What benefits can I use to tempt a candidate?

What benefits can I use to tempt a candidate?

How can I avoid discrimination in job adverts?

Once upon a time, perks were special favours granted to the chosen few, such as corner offices with a window, and a key to the executive wash room.

Real company perks are much wider in scope and are the most cost-effective way to recruit and retain a happy, engaged workforce. For a fraction of the cost of offering higher salaries, you could instead implement an employee benefits scheme and get a more motivated workforce into the bargain.

Salary is no longer the sole incentive
For more and more candidates, money and flashy perks are no longer the siren call they once were. The offer of real benefits, such as a better work-life balance and more flexible working practices, are becoming increasingly desirable.

Choice and flexibility are seemingly the determining factors behind employment decisions. The offer of lifestyle benefits are bigger draws than ever before for today's professionals.

Parents, especially, are opting for companies offering home-working or flexi-time. More rudimentary incentives such as sick pay or 25 days paid leave are still amongst the most popular draws for new recruits.

But, if everyone gets on-board and begins to offer family and life-friendly working practices, what will there then be to set you apart from your competitors?

There are plenty of other creative and low/no-cost perks that can make employees happy and appeal to new recruits:

  • Casual dress policy – If employees don't have to buy a separate wardrobe for their working week, this could turn into quite a money saver. If you can't let the formal dress go, consider a clothing allowance.
  • Company discounts – Offer your employees, as well as their friends and family, the chance to buy products or services at discount prices. These don't have to be limited to your company, so get in touch with other businesses that may appeal to your workforce.
  • Interest-free loans – Set a limit on the value of the loan which could be used for anything from a yearly train ticket to a new conservatory. Remember to set up an automatic deduction from their salary.
  • Business cards – Amazingly, personalised business cards still offer an emotional appeal and letting your employees get creative with their job title could give them an ego boost.
  • Company car – As well as the usual procedure of offering car allowances to employees who work on the road, you could make additional vehicles available for employees personal use You could make these hybrids or electric eco-cars to give yourself a tick in the green box
  • Gym memberships – A healthy workforce is generally a happy one so get connected with a local gym to offer discounts to your employees.
  • Free fruit – Cheaper than gym membership, free fruit at work shows you care about staff health and also brightens up your office.
  • Massage – Many companies now offer regular on-site massages treatments that help relax and regenerate their employees.
  • Redecoration – It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a working environment, and whilst a nice office is not necessarily a benefit, a nasty office can certainly affect morale.

Whatever you cut, don't cut benefits
Always r remember your employees are your most important asset. Keeping them happy and engaged is more important than ever when budget cuts and the threat of redundancy cast a long shadow over the working day.

Plans for perks may need to be reduced or re-prioritised depending on current company circumstances, but what remains constant is the need to demonstrate commitment to your employees. Motivated employees will respond by working harder so organisations that continue to support and reward their employees in tough times will be best placed to emerge strongly in a recovery.

Monitor the ROI
Incredibly, most companies seem to depend on retention figures alone for proof that their benefits policies are working. Whatever benefits you decide to offer, it makes sense to both micro and macro-monitor their ROI.

Benefits take-up is easy to measure. Remember though, low take-up of a benefit doesn't necessarily mean it should be scrapped. Perhaps it just needs to be communicated better both internally, and in your recruitment campaigns.

Discuss this issue on The Employer Forum.