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Employee Perks in the UK: What are the Trends?

Different employers may have different reasons to offer perks and benefits. According to the sixth Aon Employee Benefits and Trends survey, around 30 percent UK employers offer perks to ‘meet market norms’, 23 percent to retain talent, 11 percent to attract new talents, and another 23 percent to increase productivity and employee engagement. Whatever the reason, most UK employers admit that perks and benefits are important. Some companies even go beyond the usual benefits and offer some innovative perks.

For instance;

  • Skyscanner offers discounts at local salons and pubs;
  • Peninsula throws Christmas party for employees’ kids;
  • TransferWise offers annual company holidays; and
  • Airbnb offers $2,000 to each employee for an international tour

Today’s employers revise their benefits strategies more often than ever before to adapt to the fast-changing employee preferences. Perks never considered earlier such as flexible working, are now highly sought-after among most employees. Let’s take a look at the top four employee benefits trends in the UK.

1. Financial wellness

According to a recent survey by Barclays, more than 46 percent of the employee respondents said they are concerned about their financial future, while around 20 percent admitted that financial worries often hamper their work. And we know that financial concerns can go all the way to affect an employee’s emotional and physical health. So most employers in the UK now provide the necessary tools and resources to help their employees make better informed financial decisions. Some companies organise seminars on how to improve personal finance, while others provide online resources or face-to-face counselling. Experts believe this new trend is here to stay.

2. Health benefits

UK employers are now more proactive about providing health benefits to their employees. Over 75 percent of the UK employers believe they are responsible for influencing employee health and wellbeing, according to the Aon survey conducted among nearly 300 employers. The survey also reveals,

  • around 32 percent of UK employers offer on-site medical and general practitioner services;
  • 52 percent offer GP services over the phone;
  • 15 percent offer weight loss programmes;
  • 43 percent offer physical training programmes, and
  • more than 30 percent offer wellness programmes for stress reduction and smoking cessation

Some employers also provide wellness information and fitness monitoring tools or apps; while others go a step further to encourage their employees to improve health behaviours. For instance, online game developing company Jagex offers free bicycle repairs at an office in an attempt to motivate their employees to keep fit by cycling to work. Also, companies like Pentland Brands offer an on-site gym, football ground, tennis court and swimming pool.

3. Change in health and wellness tactics

Interestingly, there is a notable change in most UK employers’ approach to health and wellness strategy. More than 53 percent of UK employers now allow flexible working as part of their employee wellbeing strategy, while around 25 percent offer branded wellness programmes, and 12 percent offer location-based wellness programmes, according to the sixth Aon Employee Benefits and Trends survey. In other words, today’s employers are putting more focus on developing a holistic wellness strategy that would help improve physical as well as an emotional wellbeing of their employees.

4. Flexible benefits

Adoption of flexible benefits is another rising trend. Flexible benefits schemes allow employees tailor a benefits package to their individual requirements and preferences. For employers, this is a great way to meet the exact requirements of each employee in a diverse workforce, where one-size-fits-all schemes simply do not work. According to the latest survey, around 42 percent of the employer respondents have already adopted a flexible benefits scheme, while another 24 percent have plans to do so within the next few years. The study also found that the adoption of flexible benefits is more common in banking, insurance and finance sectors, while the adoption rate is comparatively slow in construction and manufacturing sectors.

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