In today’s working landscape, there’s little doubt that a good employee benefits package can play a significant part in the successful recruitment and retention of any business. An attractive bundle of perks not only helps attract talent in the millennial era but may also increase staff loyalty. A happy worker is, more often than not, a more productive worker.
According to the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report, better benefits were one of the top three reasons why millennials and generation Z switched jobs in 2020. While pay still matters, the Employee Experience (EX) factor most in need of improvement is compensation and benefits.
As policy makers and businesses across the UK face The Great Resignation, employee benefits is an area that more and more businesses are focussing on in an effort to gain an advantage. Outside of the obligatory core benefits every employer should be offering – pension, income protection and holiday allowance – flexible working, life insurance and healthcare still top the most desired list of employee extras.
Research by insurance experts, Aviva, revealed that paid sick leave, profit share options, free meals and drinks, dental care and eye tests are also important to the modern employee. But in the world of workplace perks, the menu has expanded way beyond these more traditional add-ons.
Whereas, once upon a time, free tea and coffee may have been seen as a deal-breaking freebie, a whole new generation of group life and health benefit plans now proactively reward employees for good health and commitment. These can be redeemed against everything from gym memberships, wellness apps and company cars, to dental plans, childcare vouchers, discounted dinners out and retail vouchers.
But there may be one essential benefit most employers are still failing to provide their employees, according to a new landmark study, and that’s peace of mind about their personal safety.
Commissioned by Peoplesafe, a new study reveals that a staggering 6.8 million workers worry about their personal safety at work every single week of the year.
Conducted with 2,081 workers from all sectors, the study discovered that negative experiences involving safety issues often contribute to an employee’s decision to leave their job and their willingness to take on a similar job in the future.
One in five employees (22%) surveyed cited safety concerns as a reason they chose to leave their job and over a quarter would not take on any public facing role due to personal safety concerns. Safety concerns were felt by all types of workers, with 60% of everyone questioned admitting that they even felt unsafe travelling to and from work during unsociable hours.
In the context of any recruitment and retention crisis, these are concerning numbers.
Peoplesafe also found that while majority of businesses want to do more to protect their employees, many struggle to know how they can help beyond basic safety compliance, which clearly many workers feel is no longer enough. They expect additional support from their employer.
Even though it isn’t currently something set in law, 57% of employees believe that their boss has a duty to make sure they get to work and back home safe; it’s not just about the hours that they are on the clock. And nearly a third of them believe their employer could be doing more to protect them – full stop.
The message is that employers may need to consider going beyond official legislation and basic compliance to provide the desired level of employee safety and peace of mind.
There appears to be a clear, tangible benefit to recruitment and perceptions of roles if prospective employees were to be offered technology and personal safety solutions that they know will reliably keep them out of harm’s way. Improving levels of employee safety is one untapped staff retention tool that could make a prospective job more appealing for workers across any sector in the longer term.
In the Peoplesafe survey, two thirds of employees questioned said they would take up a personal safety solution if offered and 50% of workers would consider a front-line role if equipped with safety tech, suggesting that the pool of candidates for a role could measurably increase with personal safety technology built into a job offer or role.
Yet addressing these concerns is one crucial benefit opportunity that only a handful of businesses are tapping into. So, just how difficult would it be to add peace of mind and personal safety to a company’s list of employee benefits? The answer is, not very difficult at all. Or costly.
Lower cost security measures already exist, and they can be tailored to a wider array of employees. The most cost effective are personal safety mobile apps that provide a strong level of protection, can support the prevention of incidents, and critically manage issues. Where CCTV systems are static and may cost thousands of pounds, effective personal safety alarms and apps are mobile and the price of that complimentary cup of coffee, for near instant access to the police and priceless reassurance for employees.
The use of free, downloadable personal safety apps is already on the increase, reinforcing that the demand and desire to feel safe is growing. However, research published by BMC in June 2022 found that while people downloading these free apps found them useful, they also reported them as being unreliable, not working as described and/or having features that could be exploited.
Founded in 2001, Peoplesafe provide a range of professional safety apps and devices designed to offer the best level of protection and peace of mind backed by expert Alarm Controllers trained to handle distressing situations. This 24/7 monitored service helps to keep workers safe – wherever they are – by connecting direct to emergency services. This means that employers can provide staff with the benefit of feeling safe both in and outside working hours.
Millennials and generation Z want to work for employers that are aligned to their own values. Investing in safety technology that provides reassurance outside of working hours is just one way to demonstrate a desire and willingness to support employee wellbeing.
The workplace is evolving at an accelerated rate and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the entire workforce benefits business. Unlike those other work perks, it’s more than just a nice-to-have.