It comes to light all too often that having a positive working environment equals a happy and healthy workforce. However, a recent survey conducted by CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, suggests otherwise. Despite this constant stream of advice for happy workplace vibes, a huge 80.4 per cent of the 2,000 respondents still feel that they are not quite receiving the benefits they deserve. Furthermore, the most sought after benefits are not necessarily annual bonuses, but instead it’s the simple workplace perks, such as free tea and coffee and the occasional biscuit or three that make staff feel more valued.
The immediate fear for HR directors is to assume that employees want expensive assets, such as a personal chauffeur or gourmet food served breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we can’t all be Google. It’s a relief therefore, that CV-Library’s survey revealed how employees were more passionate about benefits that helped with their personal lives.
Pension schemes and flexible working were the top two requests from respondents, with free food and drink coming in third. It’s not unreasonable to assume that you will be able to make a cuppa and have some snacks to keep you ticking through the day at work. In addition, social events for staff, such as a Christmas party, were ranked highly as a desirable benefit to have as an employee.
However, out of those that were surveyed, just over half had been offered a pension scheme, a third had flexible working, and less than half had free food or drink in the workplace. Even fewer had company social events available, which is a shame due to the fact that it encourages valuable relationship building across the business.
In addition to perks that benefit employees’ personal lives, findings revealed that the availability of simple workplace extras to create a pleasant working environment were seriously lagging behind. Just over half of the people we asked were allowed to have snacks at their desks, use a mobile phone at work and wear casual clothes at some point during the week.
However, even though there is a strong demand for these benefits, workplace perks have to be managed appropriately. Whilst Google has decided that it’s okay to bring pets into work, that clearly won’t be suitable for every business. It is important for HR to gauge the positives and the limits of the given suggestions so that productivity increases rather than the opposite. Simultaneously, it is important for HR departments to show an interest in what would help improve their staff’s working environment and ultimately their time with the company too.
Ignoring this would cause problems and is likely to make staff feel undervalued. Regardless of whether they are thanked for their hard work, if the HR team does not provide for their staff then there may consequently be a lack of motivation to perform well or stay within the business. And so it starts a chain reaction. Lack of motivation leads to a lack of prosperity, which may ultimately lead to staff turnover and a deficit in the business. Pure and simple: if staff do not feel valued in a company then they will leave, equalling a low staff retention rate and additional costs to fill roles.
A similar outlook applies to candidates who are on the hunt for a job. If a company does not offer incentives to highlight that its staff are appreciated, then they may struggle in attracting new top talent. This applies mainly to millennials, who have a focused attitude regarding what they want to get out of work. So it’s worth bearing in mind what you’ll offer, especially as millennials will make up 75% of the marketplace by 2025.
It is a poor excuse that the extra expense of annual Christmas parties and the like, are preventing companies from providing for their staff. It’s time for HR directors to take initiative. Even though there may be an initial outlay, the results will soon outweigh the costs. If companies want to grow and survive, they need to provide the perks.