Employee's most valued benefits and perks

When it comes to benefits and perks, startups have always been creative in what they offer candidates in addition to their basic salary. Equity and shares are often used to attract people who will contribute greatly to the success of a business, benefits such as "unlimited" holiday are used to signal generosity for staff and images of weekly team pizza are all over social media.

However, the workplace has now changed and with it, candidates' requirements when looking for a new role are changing too. Knowing what those are, could be the difference between securing your next key hire or losing out to the competition.

This week we surveyed those candidates on our database who are in permanent employment to ask what they will be prioritising when looking for their next role.

Which working arrangement will you be looking for in your next role?

  • 54% will want flexible working arrangements
  • 33% will be looking for a role that is 100% remote based
  • 13% will still prefer a role that is based in the office for the majority of the time

Of the 54% who will be looking for roles that offer flexible working, 67% will expect to be able to work remotely 3 or 4 days a week. It certainly looks like the days of everyone in the office together will be coming to an end. Even if an employer favours having everyone under one roof, if the nature of the work itself doesn't demand it, they may struggle to find the staff they need and those who don't adapt, will miss out on talent.

What will be the most important benefits & perks in the future?

We asked our candidates to vote on the benefits and perks that will be most important to them when looking for their next role.

  • Flexible working - 87%
  • Options/Shares - 64%
  • Annual bonus - 53%
  • Learning & Development budget - 40%
  • Private healthcare - 40%
  • Earn extra leave - 27%
  • Pension contributions - 25%
  • Gym membership - 20%

Flexible working was the clear winner, and somewhat surprisingly, health-related benefits were chosen by under 50% of respondents. Other honourable mentions were a good working environment, car allowance, great coffee (naturally), and a not insignificant 13% said they wanted to take their dogs to work. Our very own Toby (the office frenchie) gives this two paws up ?

What is the remote equivalent of a pool table, free fruit and Friday drinks?

Without an office base, those perks that provide a mental break at lunchtime or some much needed sustenance are gone. So we asked what employers could replace them with and still contribute to a positive work environment and remote culture. Our network certainly felt that the overall employment package would need to compensate for a reduction in office perks. In no particular order, these were the most common responses.

  • Home equipment subsidy
  • Tech support and necessary apps
  • Budget for training
  • Vouchers for food & drinks for employees to have delivered locally to where they live.
  • Monthly or quarterly perk boxes sent to each employee
  • Allocated exercise time to replace team lunches, drinks, etc.
  • Team building holidays
  • Extra paid holidays

Even after a couple months of lockdown, people haven't lost the urge to socialise. As long as social activities were done safely and in accordance with COVID19 guidelines, 80% said they'd still attend team meetups when working remotely in the future. In the meantime, we don't need to miss out on the usual social events either, with one person's employer hosting Virtual Friday drinks and having cocktails delivered to their employees' premises.

What help could an employer provide during the current pandemic that you would really appreciate?

Although we're seeing lockdown measures ease, most of us will still be working from home for a while yet. We wanted to know what employers could be doing to help remote staff to make their working lives easier, both now and in the future. Once again, flexibility and technology dominated the responses.

  • Provide home office equipment, such as an additional or large screen display
  • Flexibility in office hours and options for better time management
  • More understanding for parents working from home with children
  • Virtual group meetings and more engagement
  • Avoiding disruption with payment

Overall, what is the one benefit or perk an employer could offer that you would value most in the future?

This was an open question, and except for the person who wanted a puppy, the responses were overwhelmingly in favour of flexibility.

  • Flexible working
  • Remote working
  • 4-day week
  • Total freedom to work wherever I want
  • Increased annual leave or the ability to earn extra annual leave

I think the conclusions to draw from this are pretty evident. Any business hoping to attract the best talent in the future will not only need to offer flexible working, but also be equipped to support people with it. Whether that's allowing people to work from home a few days a week or providing a fully remote option, they'll also need to offer the infrastructure and support that people need. From tech support and additional equipment to flexible hours and allowances made for childcare issues, employers need to ensure they have the systems and processes in place to both build their business and have an effective and content workforce.