Are you offering this year’s 5 hottest employee benefits?

shutterstock_140105446Although your sunglasses tan may not have faded and you’re still finding pine needles from your Christmas tree all over the house, 2015 is here and most of us are back to work.

Now more than ever it’s time to start thinking about refreshing your employee benefits plan to ensure it remains competitive, innovative and current for your people this year.

Here are our predictions for the top 5 hottest employee benefits for 2015 that you shouldn’t look past:

 

1. The Basics

Petrol. Groceries. Health insurance.

I know they don’t sound as ‘hot’ as a slippery slide in the office or an onsite clairvoyant, but offering the basics to your employees will make a huge difference to their overall job satisfaction.

With the cost of living consistently on the rise, 2015 will be no different, so making the necessities a little bit cheaper or more accessible will result in very happy employees. The best thing about these benefits is that they appeal to everyone, no matter their demographic. Your 23 year old employees will love discounts on petrol just as much as the 58 year olds.

Remember, the basics should be just that for your employee benefits offering: the base. Start with them first and then you can think about the slippery slide.

2. Experiences, Experiences, Experiences

Take this example from my mother. If she wants a handbag, she will buy it. What she won’t buy herself is a spa voucher, or a ticket to the latest musical even though she enjoys it more.

Your employees are the same. But in our busy lives, it’s rare that we can escape to go hot air ballooning, on a wine tour by horseback or even the movies. When given an experience, we are forced to carve out that time from work to indulge. And it’s fabulous.

In fact, according to the Atlantic, ‘experiential purchases like holidays, concerts and movies, tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.’ While a handbag may eventually fall apart and be sent to handbag heaven, no one is ever going to forget that trip away thanks to their employee benefits.

3. Pet Leave

We offer employees bereavement and sick leave to take care of family, but what about their more hairy counterparts? For many people, pets are irrefutably a member of the house. For others, they may be the only family they have.

Offering paid leave to employees to take care of sick pets or deal with the death of a pet has been around for a while now, but is gaining more and more popularity and prevalence as a deeply appreciated employee benefit.

Showing your employees compassion and flexibility during a stressful and emotional time, no matter whether the cause is a child, grandmother or labrador, will have an unquestionably positive impact on their loyalty and sense of worth to the company they work for.

4. Health and Wellbeing

30 years ago, the words Crossfit, Paleo, quinoa and Body Pump didn’t exist in our vocabulary. These days, we are a society obsessed with everything health and fitness, so to keep up, you need to ensure your employees’ wellbeing is a focus for your business.

Most people’s problem is struggling to find the time to exercise, not to mention – it’s expensive to make the right food choices. (Anyone who has tried to buy blueberries rather than chips recently would know!) Offering lunch time pilates, subsidising memberships to gyms nearby, fruit baskets, fitness trackers and workout gear for your employees will help to support their health and lower stress levels.

This not only benefits them, but also you! Healthy employees are more productive and take less sick days positively impacting your bottom line. The financial cost of poor health and wellbeing in Australia is estimated at over A$7 billion per annum. A scary figure, but you can help reduce it this year with healthy initiatives as part of your employee benefits program.

5. Good Coffee

This benefit has been hot for decades; an oldie but a goodie!

Replace those horrible sachets of instant coffee and invest in a cafe standard coffee machine. Those tiny, dark, aromatic beans of glorious caffeine-y goodness can make a world of difference for your employees. When people don’t have to leave the office for their skinny lattes or long blacks, it gives you back their time while saving them a ton of money.

Great business decisions are made around the coffee machine as innovative ideas are discussed while milk is frothed to perfection. Not to mention, it has a great social and cultural impact on your company. Standing, chatting around the watercooler any one? So last year. 2015: water cooler out*, coffee machine in!

While none of these benefits may surprise you, they can all have a significant impact on the value your employees see in working for you. Ensure you don’t lose them to a company that does have all or some of these in place, because it’s easy to create a compelling employee benefits program today.

(*Please continue to give your employees access to drinking water at all times.)

Lizzy Taylor, Human Resources Coordinator

Sources: A Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, ACT Occupational Health and Safety Commission, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/buy-experiences/381132/

Image credit: Shutterstock.com