As far as many employers are concerned, one sure-fire way to boost the commitment and contentment of their staff is simply to pay them more money. But research has shown that this could actually have precisely the opposite effect and that a combination of bonuses and benefits is a much more effective way to create a happier and more motivated workforce.
Employees often undervalue the value of benefits when it comes to negotiating a salary. If your discussions aren't going particularly well, it's well worth trying to work into the package benefits that cost next to nothing for you employer, but mean a great deal to you.
So what benefits are available to you and what are they really worth?
- Commission -
Based on you meeting specific targets or KPIs and p[aid as a percentage. Its motivation to you to work harder to earn as much as possible and no employer would begrudge paying an employees more when they're bringing in money for the business.
- Profit sharing or share options - Paid to employees based on the success of the company as a whole. This is usually offered to managers as a way to encourage them to make their team focus on the overall business objectives.
- Paid holidays or paid sick leave -
There is a bare minimum number of holidays and sick leave your employer must offer so anything on top of this can be classed as a benefit. The cost to employers is very little as a well rested employee is generally a happier and more productive one.
- Education reimbursement -
If you're looking to brush up on your skills or gain a new qualification it's not always necessary t quit your job and become a full time student. Having the desire to broaden your knowledge shows your employer you're potential and many will be happy to contribute towards the costs.
- Life insurance -
It's the last thing we want to think about, but your family will be well looked after if the worst happens so sign up to this benefit whenever you're given the opportunity.
- Pension -
Your employer must provide access to a pension scheme and many take up the option to add additional contributions to your monthly payments. You may not see this money immediately, but it will be a major benefit when the time comes to retire.
- Company car -
A vehicle is usually offered to employees who spend a large proportion of their working life on the move. It saves the company money in terms of travel costs and can give you the chance to use the car in your own time as well.
- Subsidised travel or season ticket loans - Season tickets for public transport are a pricey one off fee, but offer huge savings over the course of a year. If you can't afford to pay up, your employer may lend you the money and deduct it from your wages on a monthly basis. For out of town office complexes, shuttle busses from local train stations are very common and cost employees little, if anything, to use.
- Home working - Apart from the benefits of reduced travel and food costs, you will be likely to be provided with Internet access, a laptop, mobile phone and any other equipment you need to make your home office an effective place to work. It will also probably mean you can use there items for your own personal use as well.
- Flexible working -
There are plenty of flexible working packages available that help you achieve an effective workplace balance. From working around school hours to fulfilling your weekly hours whenever you like, finding a mutually beneficial structure for you and your employer can make you a much more effective worker.
- Child day care - High costs of childcare often put new parents off returning to work full time. If employees don't want to lose the services of a skilled and valued employee they may offer childcare facilities either in-house or through a local nursery.
- Gym membership - Whether subsidised or free, it's a great way for employers to give you a tangible benefit that could save you plenty of pounds – both in your wallet and your belly.
- Subsidised food and drink - If you count up the cost of snacks, coffee, water and lunch over the course of a year it can be a frighteningly large chunk of your salary. Any moves employers can make to reduce this cost is a major bargaining tool.
- Casual dress - It's not usually seen as a benefit, but think about how much money you could save if you can wear the same clothes in the workplace as you do in your spare time.