What's the point of benefits that staff don't want?

Jan 14 2008 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Don't assume that just because you offer loads of different benefits that it will make you an employer of choice.

In fact a survey carried out in the UK by workplace consultancy Croner has found that while most firms now offer a wide range of benefits, there is often a discrepancy between the sorts of perks employees want and what they are actually being given.

More than half of the employers polled admitted that their workers were not taking up all the benefits on offer because they did not fit in with their lifestyle requirements.

Out of the top five benefits offered by employers just two also appeared in the employees' list of top five most desired perks.

What this showed was that employer benefit packages were more often than not out of sync with today's workers, said Croner.

More worrying from the recruitment perspective was what this meant in terms of employers being attractive to new graduates, it added.

Nine out of 10 employers, for instance, favoured offering a company pension and nearly three quarters considered death in service as a key benefit.

Yet a smaller percentage of employees Ė eight out of 10 Ė viewed having access to a company pension scheme as important, falling to just three out of 10 when it came to death in service as a priority perk.

While Croner conceded it was perhaps not unusual for younger graduates to be less interested in pensions or death in service than older employees, it stressed there was a gap between what was on offer and what was desired among workers of all ages.

Nearly half of the employees polled said they would like to have the benefit of private medical insurance and a third wanted flexitime, yet both of these were perks not widely offered by employers.

The consultancy recommended that businesses review their company benefits schemes and looked to implement only those seen as a priority by their staff.

This, it argued, would not only help businesses attract top graduate talent but also help employees achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Andrew Walker at Croner Reward said: "With modern day lifestyles becoming ever more demanding, employees are looking to employers to help them achieve that essential work-life balance, whether it is by allowing them to work more flexibly or through something like free health care.

"Businesses can help employees achieve this balance by regularly reviewing their schemes and bringing them up to date with the requirements of their employees," he added.

"In an age where many people live for the here and now, graduates in particular are more likely to accept a job with a company that can offer much more than just a salary," he continued.

"Companies can stay one step ahead of the game by offering attractive benefits that can help enhance their lifestyle," he concluded.