Staff Retention & Benefits – offering something “more”

July 22, 2019

I once heard an Employer say, “we pay them don’t we?” when discussing giving staff time off that wasn’t taken out of their holiday allowance.  And she’s right, as Employers there are certain legal requirements to what we offer staff and we are obliged to offer no more.  After all, we are trying to run a profitable business and therefore, is it not good practice to manage unnecessary costs?  What she failed to consider was that her competitors also “paid them”, along with a whole host of benefits.  And as her staff moved jobs, she saved money on benefits and her competitors grew their business by employing skilled people she’d trained.  A significant cost to her business that doesn’t show directly on her P&L.

In stark contrast, I worked for someone who rewarded staff with benefits that weren’t included in any employment contract.  A staff member who got mugged was sent flowers & the money she had stolen replaced; a department who fell foul of a pyramid scheme were given their money back; the Chairman’s car and Chauffer were offered for staff weddings and school proms; a gift of a retired racehorse to an employee whose daughter wanted a horse (I’m not sure if this one is urban myth.  A racehorse?).  Now, some would argue that “he could afford it” & yes, he can, he’s loaded, but that’s not the point.  He knew his staff, he knew what was going on in their lives and he wanted to support them, even when that support didn’t fall within any legal employment requirements.

You can’t buy loyalty, but you can earn it and that is done through appreciating Employees as individuals.

There are now several products on the market that offer a managed solution to staff benefits.  Companies such as Perkbox offer a “platform designed to enrich the employee experience”.  Through these packages Employees are offered lifestyle, wellness and recognition benefits to help staff “perform and live better”.  But do these packaged solutions show an Employer’s commitment to creating an environment of recognition or a quick solution to “ticking a box”?   The problem with a packaged solution is it may not be what your Employees want and surely that should be your aim, to offer something that staff feel enhances their life?  Employers also need to stand out from their competitors & how do you they do that with a package that everyone offers?


80% of employees would choose engaging benefits – including flexible working, benefits schemes, and access to discounts – over a pay rise.” – 



Companies that offer unique benefits or benefits that go above what’s normally expected show that they truly value their staff and understand that and Employee’s job isn’t their only priority in life, that sometimes other things need to be addressed, and good Employers will help to support them.  We are seeing an increased number of Employers offering staff a 4-day working week, helping with home/work life balance.

So, if benefits are so important to Employees, why don’t Recruiters bother to include benefits in their online adverts?  Or, if they do include them, they just list the bulk standard excepted benefits of any job – 20 days holiday, a workplace pension that just offers the legal minimum.  The number of field sales roles that just list “laptop, mobile phone” – really?  Who’d have guessed, do some companies still offer a fax machine?

An employee survey* showed that 84% of job seekers state that “it’s very important when making a decision to apply for a job” to look at the Company’s Employee reviews before they choose to apply for a vacancy.   As Recruiter’s we don’t have the luxury of being able to promote a Company’s profile on an unbranded advert so we have to rely on selling the job role and the benefits – without these your advert just focuses on what the Recruiter needs to fill the job & that doesn’t motivate any Candidate to apply.

When writing your job advert you need to include all benefits that focus on the areas that are most important to Candidates:

  • Company culture. What size is the team?  What are the offices like?  Do they do any team-oriented activities such as social events, team lunch, breakfast weekly meetings?  Chip Shop Monday, Fancy Dress Friday, Doughnut Wednesday? Relaxed dress code?  Anything that shows that it’s a friendly place to work.
  • Work-Life balance. Flexible working?  Early finish? Time off for school plays, deliveries at home, dentist appointments that only take a short while & you don’t have to waste a half day holiday that had to be booked a month in advance?  Dress down Friday (I never wanted to be stood in the pub, at 10pm on a Friday night dressed in a polyester Halifax uniform!)?  Enhanced holiday allowance? Unlimited holiday?  Option to buy or sell holiday?   Day off for your birthday?  Time off for study, study support?
  • Convenient travel to work. Is there parking onsite?  Is there local free parking?  Where is the nearest car park and does the company have a discount deal? How far is the walk from the train or bus station?  Does the company offer a car share scheme?
  • Healthy Lifestyle. Gym Membership, Healthcare?  Enhanced Pension?  Probably not Death in Service benefit – not one to dwell on in an advert!


If your Client offers benefits that are unique or of great importance to the Candidate these should be contained within the first 3 lines of your advert.  When your advert is one of many you want it to stand out from your competitors using something factual that is going to speak directly to the Candidates you most want to impress. No one believes a job is a “fantastic opportunity”, instead tell them something that is going to catch the reader’s attention.   The rest of the benefits should be detailed at the bottom of the advert – leave the Candidate with a reason to apply for your vacancy.


Because an advert with no benefits is as good as an Employer that thinks it’s enough to just “pay them”.   Candidates have choice, and you don’t want them choosing to apply for a competitor’s advert.



*This survey was conducted online within the UK by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor between May 7-9, 2018 among 715 UK adults ages 18+ who are employed full-time/part-time/self-employed, or not employed but looking for work. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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