Benefits at Work – a senseless exercise

So I read an article on LinkedIn this morning  Read it here, and this is something that has been bugging me for a while.

Yes, there are benefits I really enjoy and get me engaged in the company, but others not so much or even annoy me, and this is the case for almost anyone. This starts from hearing that last X-mas before one joins a company everybody got iPads,  now X-Mas comes, and you get a jacket or some other cheap company branded merchandise… Some unmet expectations here? No surprise…

The thing is providing all these different Benefits will cost the company a lot of money and usually beside some obvious choices like Retirement/Pension and Healthcare. Most of them from my own experience roughly 75% of these spendings are lost money, as most employees will not use most of these. Even worse, employees will notice they get stuff they don’t want or need, and it’s not free its part of their compensation, but they cannot opt out. So they’ll lose out on salary (someone must pay for these things, and as a business, this will get priced in into the salary anyways – don’t get lost in illusions, nothing is ever free).

As an example just me personally retirement and pension plans, flexible time, career development, commuter support and decent pay and bonus are the things I care about. I don’t care about merchandise with the company brand, as a vegetarian, I have not yet encountered a “free lunch” ( if it’s part of your compensation it’s not free anyway ) worth my time. A lot of other benefits are utterly worthless to me personally as well I don’t have nor plan children either biological or adopted. I do have a dog I’d love to bring to work… Other people will value different thinks like childcare or the “free lunch”, or they want something entirely different… Any company that intends to cater to the myriad of different wants and expectations by its employees can only loose. The main problem is that you will have as many different expectations as you have employees, and all of them expect their personal expectations met, or they’ll switch to another company that caters better to their personal needs and desires.Have a few standard benefits common in your area and for the rest outsource it. Find a nearby gym strike a deal that employees can sign up for, same for a daycare, have lunch orders with nearby shops, have opt-in outsourced benefits. It will be much easier to set a budget as you will only pay for the stuff your employees will actually use… you will be more efficient build local business relations have your employees and brand more involved in the local area as well…

So the good news is there is an easy enough solution that will have the potential to make you look better as a company and save you money especially if you are not yet a company that has billions to spend and can build campuses. Have a few standard benefits common in your area and for the rest outsource it. Find a nearby gym strike a deal that employees can sign up for, same for daycare, have lunch orders with nearby shops, have opt-in outsourced benefits. It will be much easier to set a budget as you will only pay for the stuff your employees will actually use… you will be more efficient build local business relations have your employees and brand more involved in the local area as well…

So the gist is:

Don’t try to be like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and so on, instead, try to cater to the individual desires of your employees and at the same time optimize your spending and the ROI on benefits. You could be known as the company who provides each employee with exactly the benefits he or she actually wants.

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