We make a habit of keeping an eye on what organisations are offering their staff in terms of employee benefits. It keeps us up to date with the key employee engagement trends and provides an interesting insight into what’s important to employees. So, eight months into 2017, here’s what’s caught our eye so far this year:
The Scandinavian retailer recently announced that all of its 10,000+ UK workers would be eligible for taking off one weekend in every four in a bid to improve work-life balance for its workforce. If you’re a Monday-to-Friday nine-to-five-er this may not sound like a big deal, but as a major retailer, most of Ikea’s staff work at weekends. In fact, they are one of the first major retailers in the UK to implement this type of policy, so we think this is pretty forward thinking.
UK Power Network
The electricity power supply business has announced that it will be giving all of its 5,700 UK-based employees access to an online financial education programme which will provide access to an online platform with over 800 articles and personalised information, in addition to guidance on the business’ own financial benefits programme. Education is a powerful tool and given that debt and financial concerns are a known and documented distraction for the employees, these types of initiatives can no doubt make a difference to employee mental well-being.
There’s been something of a revolution in how employers view their workspaces. Taking the lead from Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google and Facebook, more and more organisations now understand the impact of a good workspace in motivating, inspiring and engaging employees. The fact that software organisation EKM spent a sizeable wedge on its new space is indicative of this growing trend. The space reportedly took four years to design and includes state-of-the-art technology, an expansive kitchen, gym, a training and presentation auditorium and a rest and relaxation area. Oh and a three-storey slide!
In what is arguably a fairly unique step to be taken by a private company – such schemes tend to be run by Government organisations – Starbucks launched its ‘home sweet loan’ scheme to help employees afford the cost of a rental deposit. Given how much the cost of rental accommodation has increased in recent years, especially compared with wages, we think this is an enlightened example of a financial benefit that could really make difference to employees’ cash flow.
Virgin has developed a reputation for being forward thinking when it comes to its HR policies and this latest initiative is further evidence of its approach. According to mental health charity Mind, mental health issues such as stress are the number one cause of workplace absence. Virgin’s response to this is a programme focused on education, training and awareness and, in our view, is one that should be applauded.
If staying ‘on brand’ is the sign of a good perk, then craft beer producer Brewdog is nailing it. It announced plans in February to introduce paid puppy leave for new dog owners. How’s that for an employee benefit?
Web analytics firm Hotjar appears to be wholeheartedly embracing the home working employee benefits trend. It announced earlier this year that employees would be given £3,500 to build their own home office. A shrewd move, in our view, given that home working can help motivate staff, allow for savings to be made in terms of office space provision and is becoming increasingly popular.