I think we would all agree that over the past few months, the pressure on the purse has been mounting from both a personal and a business perspective.

Most things seem to be increasing including salaries and the demand to pay our existing and potential employees more to be sure to keep your businesses running effectively. If you are feeling the pinch, how can you be sure to retain and attract the best talent without breaking the bank?

I would argue a creative look at your entire offering is the answer as it is often said that “money isn’t everything” and in the case of people, this is definitely the case.

Below are 6 ways that you can boost your reward package using different Employee Benefits which will enable you to make your teams better off whilst not costing you the earth.

Employee discounts

The UK’s most popular employee benefit is an Employee Discounts scheme. Various companies offer an off the shelf product giving your staff access to discounts at popular retailers as well as supermarkets and restaurants. These schemes enjoy high levels of engagement with your teams and at a time where people are finding costs spiralling, this could really help them to curtail their own spending keeping more of their hardearned salaries in their pockets.

Flexible working hours

The pandemic has acted as a huge catalyst when it comes to the advancement of flexible working hours. With people forced to work at home with their children present, parents had to adopt different working patterns such as starting early in the mornings and going back to the laptop in the evenings and companies had to embrace this. Whilst not always easy, it proved that it could be done whilst maintaining high levels of productivity. Many people want to have the same levels of flexibility moving forwards which can save them hundreds, if not thousands on childcare costs. It’s not just kids either, the pandemic also meant that countless people became pet owners for the first time and now they need to be at home more often to care for their beloved animals.

You could allow this increased level of flexibility to make your employees happy and also save them a fortune along the way. Providing you have effective management systems in place, this shouldn’t cost you a penny but would be invaluable to them.

Another idea you could embrace is the 4 day week, increasing their hours slightly on the other 4 days, giving them an extra day off, each and every week!

Remote working

As with Flexible Hours, the country has seen a very similar demand for the continuation of remote working. In fact, more than half of job seekers are preferring a hybrid working model so you are limiting your talent pool significantly, along with putting your current staff satisfaction at risk, if you are not offering this solution.

As above, offering remote working shouldn’t cost you anything but the perceived benefit to your staff is huge and it also saves people the costs on commuting, potentially parking and the additional expense of nipping to the canteen or sandwich van!

Again, providing your management process and managers are effective, concerns about productivity should not put you off.

Wellbeing support

As a society, we have become much better at talking about the importance of wellbeing, general and mental health and employers have a duty of care to ensure they are doing their bit too. An increasingly popular employee benefit is providing support in this area such as access to counsellors, life coaches etc. An Employee Assistance programme is a highly effective and inexpensive way to do this and many provide telephone and in some cases face to face counselling, access to a Private GP, as well as legal and financial helplines.

For a small fee you can ensure that you have a happy and healthy workforce which in turn drives down absence and improves culture and candidate retention and attraction

PMI / Cashplans

The demands on the NHS have never been greater and the waiting lists for procedures and treatments are growing ever longer. As well as the impact this has on your staff’s wellbeing in general, ultimately this will result in more staff absence and the increased expense associated with this. Giving your people Private Medical Insurance can have a fundamental impact on not only just their health but the health of their loved ones and is tax deductible. It can have a very positive response and will increase retention.

If you don’t think you can stretch to full PMI, definitely consider a health cashplan which can cost as little as £1, per week, per employee, but give them much needed cash towards optical and dental fees on an annual basis.

Pet friendly environment

As mentioned earlier, the UK are a nation of animal lovers and the number of pet owners has never been higher. You will undoubtedly have staff members yourself who own dogs and are now faced with the challenge of how to ensure that they are looked after when they are at work.

Why not think about trailing a bring your dog to work day a week or have a certain number of days where they can have their four legged friend in the office.

In schools, dogs can now be used as therapy dogs for children when they are having a bad day, need time out away from a situation or even as a reward for working hard. A similar set up could be adopted in the office as some days are real rollercoasters!

We have given you some tips and ideas on how you might be able to reward or retain staff through a variety of small gestures or adjustments. It’s never a one shoe fits all solution but at least you could speak with your team and bring some ideas forward.

If you have reservations about home working or perhaps you had a bad experience, why not check out our blog on employee engagement whilst home working.