If your business management team isn’t thinking about regular employee incentives, get ready to lose top talent.

Employee benefits, when implemented properly, are among the most effective ways to motivate staff and bring out the best in your people. Staff will eventually leave if they’re not valued or treated fairly. Companies which want to invest in their workers can use perks, such as flexible working arrangements and salary packaging, to retain staff and show recognition and appreciation.

Businesses which aren’t taking advantage of such perks are missing out. When staff are kept happy, their work ethics heighten, productivity increases and they contribute to building a better, thriving culture. Recognition boosts performance.

To drive the behaviour you want to see in your staff, here are the best employee benefits to help reward and retain your workforce.

Paid Time Off

Paid time off, such as loyalty, anniversary or birthday leave, is a top incentive to motivate staff.

People are more likely to feel a part of the bigger picture when they contribute to something greater than clocking in and clocking out. Paid time off or unlimited leave can be beneficial for both parties if it’s not abused. More leave increases productivity and provides a healthier work-life balance.

Salary Packaging

Salary packaging, also referred to as salary sacrificing, is a smart way to save money and maximise tax benefits.

It works by changing the income structure of your employee to pay for approved benefits from pre-tax dollars. Some of these include rent/mortgage payments, superannuation, everyday expenses or holiday and travel. Staff will get more from their money and it’s a tax-friendly way to boost their salary.

Tip: As the employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure any proposed salary packaging arrangements are aligned with ATO requirements and guidelines.

Flexible Working Arrangements

Traditional workdays are declining as flexible hours are the new normal.

Whether it be working from home, reduced hours or changes in start/finish times, such arrangements have become increasingly important. Breaking away from 9-5 workdays is a benefit employees can push for if they’ve been with the company for more than 12 months.

According to Hays, 89% of employers say flexible working options are crucial when it comes to staff attraction and retention.  The integration of work-life for the two to coexist positively influences all areas of work, including loyalty, revenue growth, productivity, employee engagement and being accountable. Companies can use technology to make flexible working hours more accessible and transparent.

End of Year Bonuses

Employees can also be rewarded with annual bonuses.

When managed strategically, bonuses give staff a reason to stay, offering recognition for hard work. It’s a good way to reward employees for their contributions and keeps them motivated for the upcoming year.

Companies still using performance reviews should consider replacing with career development plans. They’re more likely to encourage development and can be used with training programs to improve staff performances and productivity.

Tip: There can be a lot of complications around bonuses. To avoid unfair distributions, bonuses should be structured properly.

Sick Pay

Extra paid sick leave is another paid time-off incentive. By law, all employers are to provide sick leave to staff. However, a contractual sick pay agreed on by employers can be more generous to support the overall running of the business.

Staff without paid sick leave are more likely to work through their illness. But sick leave is vital for faster recovery and less mistakes.

Health and Wellbeing Programs

Mental health and wellbeing is a growing concern in the workforce.

To help keep staff happy and healthy, consider offering health and wellbeing programs, including financial health, which is one of the leading causes of stress. Australian employees lose an average of 6.9 hours of productive work per week due to stress-related illnesses, which can be minimised with a stronger management-led support network.

Other employee benefits to consider offering include:

  • Company car
  • Additional parental leave
  • Extra superannuation
  • Childcare payment contributions
  • Annual travel credit
  • Referral bonuses

When deciding what benefits matter most to your business, provide choice to your employees. People value the opportunity to choose and offering multiple benefits to cater is always a more positive approach.

Which staff incentives will you be implementing? Leave your comments below!