Employee Perks

36% of employees value perks that are non-monetary like - flexible working, parental time off, meal allowances & more. Are you aware of the possibilities? Read on.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: May 30, 2022
  • 5 Minutes
employee perks in UK workplaces explained by Papershift

A good employee benefits package can play a big part in the success of any UK small or medium sized business.

Did you know?!
Unfortunately, according to workplace data, only 40% of UK workers feel satisfied with their benefits making it an area that most companies can improve in.

But with so many benefits to choose from and a vast array of rules and regulations governing them, how do you know which ones are right for your staff? Also, how do you know which ones are worth the cost and will make a real difference for your business?

In this guide we look to answer these questions and more to give you an overview of the best employee perks for small and medium-sized businesses.

Let’s begin.

What is an employee perk?

Employee perks are additions to an employee’s standard compensation for working for a company (think salary and benefits). Perks are not required by law or considered necessities. They typically help define and reinforce a company’s overall culture and are considered important parts of enhancing the employee experience.

What are the differences between employee perks and employee benefits?

Benefits are forms of non-cash compensation that cover necessities an employee would otherwise have to pay for on his or her own. On the other hand, employees would be able to go on without perks, but they may hold value in encouraging someone to work or stay with a company.

Examples of benefits are:

  1. Paid leave
  2. Supplemental pay
  3. Pensions

Examples of perks are:

  1. Shop discount packages
  2. Insurance services
  3. Death in service cover
  4. Flexible working time

For many people the terms perks and benefits are interchangeable and considered the same. The one key difference between a workplace perk and a benefit is that many benefits are covered by law.

What are the benefits of employee perks?

There are many benefits to providing employee perks, and these include:

  • They improve the quality of life for employees while encouraging them to start or stay with your company.
  • They reinforce the company’s ethos and culture. 
  • They can help small and medium sized businesses recruit top talent. 
  • Workplace perks can help reduce staff turnover and help companies retain existing staff.
  • Some perks may be tax deductible.
  • Improves workplace morale.
  • Can help reduce employee stress and associated staff absences.
  • Can help boost workplace productivity.

What are the best employee perks for small and medium-sized businesses?

There are two main types of employee benefits:

  • Paid benefits. These are largely insurance products and have a monetary cost for companies to implement.
  • Low cost or free perks that add value to roles without costing a business money.

Here are a few paid benefits that are useful for SME owners:

Workplace pension

A workplace pension with minimum employee and employer contributions is now mandatory in the UK. 

When correctly delivered a workplace pension changes from a mandatory requirement to a benefit your workforce will value the most.

To set up the best workplace pension you should give real thought to the following questions:

  • What level of contribution do you want to provide?
  • Do you want to provide the bare minimum, or do you want to go above and beyond? 
  • What is competitive in your industry? 
  • What is the best pension provider for the business and your employees?
  • What are the costs? 
  • Will it integrate with the rest of your business?

Corporate health insurance

Did you know?!
At the end of 2020, NHS data revealed that there were over 4 million people on NHS waiting lists in England. This rose considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic. 20% of people on the waiting lists have been waiting more than 18 weeks.

If a worker has to wait 18 weeks for treatment with a debilitating health condition, this will have a considerable impact on their life and their ability to work. Corporate Health Insurance could help your staff get the treatment they need and get back to work quicker.

Death in service cover

Most UK households would struggle financially if a wage earner passed away. When combined with the fact that only around a third of UK adults have Life Insurance, you can see that a loved one’s death would leave a sizeable number of families in difficulty.

That’s why Death in Service Insurance is one of the most sought-after workplace perks for uninsured Brits. Offering this type of cover shows your employees you care, but also takes a weight off their shoulders knowing that their loved ones have financial protection.

Discounts programs

Many retail and foodservice businesses offer generous discounts on their items if a company enrolls in their scheme. Many companies also offer purchasing power programs whereby employees can make purchases and pay for them directly from their wages. 

What about free or low-cost perks that I can offer my staff?

While free perks are less impactful than paid for ones, there are a few that employees value:

Flexible working

The modern world is hectic and juggling work with priorities at home can be a real chore. Offering staff members the opportunity to vary their hours to suit their needs can go a long way to helping them balance their priorities.

Meal allowances or free food 

Free coffee in the breakroom, team-building lunches and snacks are just some of the perks that can show your employees that you value them. While this isn’t necessarily a major factor in retaining employees, it can be a small service that will help employees feel welcome in the office.

Parental leave 

Parents sometimes have to deal with issues with their children. Whether this is an illness or some other crisis, it can be reassuring for them to know that if they need a short amount of time off to deal with situations they can. 

In conclusion

Employee perks are vital in the modern workplace to ensure that your company is competitive with other businesses in recruitment and retainment of staff.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful. For more workplace guides, check out the rest of our website.

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)