Electrical retailer Richer Sounds takes an interesting approach to employee benefits using employer-owned resources; staff have access to holiday homes and the use of the company Bentley.
While the benefit of an employer-owned holiday home might at one time have been considered a traditional, paternalistic benefit, the reason for offering it is to create a happy and motivated workforce. John Clayton, operations director, explains: “The original thinking behind it from our owner Julian Richer was to give [employees] somewhere they could go to relax and recharge their batteries, something over and above their normal salaries. It’s important for colleagues to have good holidays, and [then they] are rested and will enjoy work more.”
Richer Sounds bought its first holiday home around 20 years ago, and now owns a number in various UK locations, including a beach house in Pevensey Bay, Eastbourne, Chesil Beach, Dorset, Scarborough and Brighton, as well as properties in Amsterdam and Marbella.
The holiday homes are available to all staff after six months of service for a small fee because it is a taxable benefit.
“It’s all part of the culture,” says Clayton. “We have a lot of benefits for colleagues, and these are just part of the package. Really the idea is to give colleagues something back and for them to get a holiday. Some people can’t afford an expensive holiday abroad, and it’s to make sure people have the opportunity if they want to.”
The employer also offers a month’s use of the company Bentley to the store that has scored highest on customer service each month.
Richer Sounds also pays for chiropody treatment and massages for its 500 employees. In addition, it runs a bring-your-pet-to-work scheme and employees get an extra day of holiday on their birthday.