The importance of personalised flexible benefits

Business Insights

Liz Walker, Commercial Director at Distinctly, discusses the most popular personalised benefits employees are seeking in the modern workplace.

What are personalised flexible benefits?

Personalised flexible benefits offer benefits that are tailored to individual employee needs. This could be based on age, parental status or location – among other factors. For smaller companies, this may mean allowing staff to pick and choose from a limited range. For larger companies, this can mean having many different packages for employees, based on their stage in life.

If you’re an employer and you’ve not heard of personalised flexible benefits, or have never felt it worth implementing them, this could be the time to rethink that decision for one simple reason: over 90% of your employees want them.

So, why offer personalised flexible benefits?

The reason your employees want personalised flexible benefits is that they are individuals who need to feel valued. This is easily addressed - offer them choice, and treat them as a unique individual. This is especially true now that you could now be employing five different generations at once, including Gen-Z and the millennial generation. These generations grew up with customisation on tap, and they expect employers to offer customisation of their benefits.

So what are the top five personalised flexible benefits that employees want?

1. Flexible/remote working

Not every employee can physically get to their workplace every day, whether that’s due to disability, injury or caring responsibilities. By offering flexible or remote working to your employees, you can help to retain their services.

  • Flexible working
    • Flexible hours allow employees with responsibilities to come and go when they need to, and then catch up on lost hours when they have time. When polled, over 90% of employees expressed interest, so it’s highly likely that your employees are interested in flexible working, even if they haven’t told you yet!

  • Remote working
    • Not every employee functions best in a crowded or noisy office. Offering remote working recognises this fact. Importantly, the accompanying boost to employee productivity is also tangible, with studies showing over 30% improvement resulting from having it available.
    • It can also be vital for carers, and can even allow you to retain those who need to relocate. Offering the chance to work remotely can make all the difference when you are trying to reduce staff turnover.

2. Pensions top-up

Even among younger workers, there’s serious anxiety about retirement age, with most expecting to work into their 70s. This anxiety is backed up by statistics: government reports show more than 1 in 10 individuals past retirement age are still employed. Given that your employees believe their pensions alone cannot support them for the duration of their retirement, a top-up can be greatly appealing.

3. Extra holiday

In 2019, the New Economics Foundation – a UK based think tank – released a report that recommended the best way to increase productivity is to increase pay and the available holiday of employees. Also, by increasing the amount of leave available to your employees, they feel more relaxed at work. As such, it should come as no surprise that staff greatly appreciate the option of taking additional holiday as part of their benefits package.

4. Gym memberships and cycle to work schemes

Access to gym memberships or cycle to work schemes as part of a benefits programme is something that many employees still really appreciate. They feel that you, as their employer, genuinely care about their health and wellbeing. The government also believe cycling to work is a good idea, and offer tax exemptions on the creation of cycle to work schemes. While the government does not provide tax incentives for gym membership, they recommend offering exercise-related benefits to employees, citing cuts in sick days, and boosted productivity.

5. Education opportunities

One surprisingly effective way to help your employees feel more valued is to offer them learning and development opportunities. This helps the employee feel that you are choosing to invest in them as an individual, while also providing you with a more productive asset in the long-term. Training can also provide long-term benefits, as motivated employees often suggest improvements based on their new knowledge.

There is, however, an important additional side: 2 in 3 UK workers have quit a job due to lack of development. As an employer, offering free or subsidised education opportunities seems like an elegant solution to this problem. With the potential to gain a better-trained, happier and more productive employee, what possible reason could you have to say no?