Everyone is familiar with common employee benefits; retirement plans, bonuses and holidays are usually what companies offer in order to boost morale and staff retention. The times seem to be changing however, employees at some of the UK and America’s top companies are receiving everything from Apple offering to freeze their staff’s eggs to Brewdog offering paid leave for employees who adopt a rescue puppy.
PKF Cooper Parry are a prime example of this change in attitudes towards creative employee benefits. Their website proudly exclaims ‘we disrupt’, a disruption caused through their creative office spaces which include snooker tables, space hoppers and even a bicycle track. This has brought them media attention when they’ve opened new offices from the local and even national press. This creative attitude reflects on their employees, as Internal Communications Assistant Adam Carpenter says PKF Cooper Parry gives ‘scope for me to use my imagination and creativity’, showing the creative benefits lead to creative employees.
Another company which has offered weird and wonderful benefits is clothing company Patagonia, who announced their employees take midday breaks in order to play Volleyball. This helps their employees become motivated and helps drive team-playing but also a competitive spirit. Take their employee Sammy Gonzalez for example, on their website he speaks highly of the company’s day care programme, explaining how it allows him to balance his work life balance and also notes how the Volleyball sessions are the favourite part of his day.
Patagonia and PKF Cooper Parry demonstrate one of the best approaches to take when considering the advantages of creative benefits – child care services, pensions and suchlike will help to reduce the stress and worry of everyday life, leading to employees who are more engaged and flexible, but also the initially silly and strange things such as the Volleyball competitions help give a sense of identity to the workplace and helps drive a team spirit and increases motivation.
An increase in employee benefits has developed alongside the ‘millennial’ generation becoming a significant part of the work force. Surveys have shown younger people who are going into work are looking for more engagement and a sense of purpose in their work rather than higher or competitive wages. 67% of young people surveyed admitted company culture is more important than wages. For smaller companies who aren’t able to offer the same wages as major ones, offering original employee benefits will help to meet these needs and market their careers to a new generation who will appreciate their fresh way of thinking.
Marketing plays a big part in the benefits of using benefits as well, Brewdog’s paid leave for dogs benefit received international attention as a light-hearted news story, but this light-hearted news story helped the company stand out in people’s minds, a huge benefit for a company which exists within a competitive market. For businesses with a lot of competition, standing out is obviously key.
To recap, giving employee benefits not only affects the employees themselves, making them feel stable, motivated and less stressed, the company itself will benefit from the increase in productivity and marketable advantage and the customers are more likely to feel inclined to use the company and more comfortable in their choice as they feel they are being ethical and the creativity will stick in their minds.