Australian employers are becoming more creative and innovative with employee benefits in order to decrease staff turnover and increase employee morale; in a cost constrained environment and when the average amount of hours worked per week have increased.
A recent report found that more companies have reported an increased number of hours worked per week from 38 to 40 hours in 2012 to 41 to 45 hours in 2013, however, while the average amount of hours worked is increasing employers are providing greater flexibility in working hours to employees.
Mercer’s 2013 Annual Benefits Review, which is based on data from 353 organisations, found 75 per cent of organisations are offering flexi-time and time off in lieu to allow employees to manage the demands of their jobs with their lifestyle.
“This benefit which may have previously been considered to be a competitive advantage for the organisation is now highly prevalent across the general market. Flexibility provides support to employees to balance their career at little cost to the organisation if managed appropriately,” said Garry Adams, talent business leader at Mercer Pacific.
“While we can easily get caught up in thinking of the cost of benefits, we can overlook that effective benefits can have a positive impact on the “
“An effective benefits plan doesn’t need to be costly, it might include the ability to purchase additional leave, gym and health club discounts or a ‘doona day’ as an additional day off to have when the employee desires. Often it’s about trust, flexibility and enabling the employee’s career to progress with their lifestyle.
Mercer research has found companies with effective benefits had better employee morale, significantly lower turnover and offered lower overall salary increases, which directly reduces costs and improves productivity.
“While we can easily get caught up in thinking of the cost of benefits, we can overlook that effective benefits can have a positive impact on the bottom line,” said Adams.
The report said there were a number of more innovative benefits offered by Australian organisations, including: a half day Friday each fortnight during summer; free/subsidised boot camp/gym/yoga; allowances for car pooling or catching public transport; free lunch once a week; and sleep pods.
“The importance of benefits in a cost constrained environment should not be underestimated. Aligning the right benefits with a company’s culture can improve staff turnover and productivity by improving morale,” said Adams.