Should I offer rewards and benefits?

Posted on 29th May 2019

You’ll be pleased to know that the quick answer to this is yes!  Followers of our blogs will know that this bit is coming, but what rewards and benefits you do offer ‘depend’ on what fits your organisation.

We are all aware of the great benefits that are offered by some companies, health insurance, death in service and the like. However, there are a lot more avenues that you can pursue that may offer lots more value to your employees at costs that you can afford.

We have a lot of conversations around schemes such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) and optical and dental cash back scheme’s and these can be invaluable. Don’t forget that a reward can be as small as ‘we’ve had a great month, let’s order pizza!’ 

The Big Stuff…

Private Health Insurance, it is a cost to your business and is the most expensive option (usually).  However, if you have employees it is likely that at one time or another one of them is likely to be ill.  Now, I have immense respect for the staff of the NHS however, the system itself, unless you have a life-threatening condition can leave a lot to be desired purely in relation to timescales.

Having had a recent operation myself let me run this scenario past you.

Through the NHS I saw my GP who recommended a course of treatment and I was advised to call a central number to arrange my next appointment with a consultant.  I rang said number and was advised that the next available appointment was in 3 months’ time.  I spoke to my colleague about the issue and she said, why are you not using the health insurance, I hadn’t because I thought it would be a confusing process.  I called them and they approved the claim whilst I was on the phone and then offered me an appointment with the same consultant on the day that I was calling!  I had my appointments, I had my treatment, had a week off for the operation, all before the 1st appointment date that I was offered!

Why am I telling you this? Well, although non urgent or life-threatening, the symptoms I was having were causing me issues and making me tired and I know that I wasn’t performing at work as I should have been, not because I didn’t want to but because I couldn’t.

If I didn’t have health insurance through work that situation could have continued for around 6–9 months whilst I waited for treatment.  6-9 months of me not working optimally which could have led onto further issues and processes at work, cost the company lost revenue and possibly affected my mental health moving forwards.

We are a small company and because of that if one member of the team is out of action it has a massive impact! The view was taken that being able to provide support for our employees to ensure that they are performing is a no-brainer. 

The Medium Stuff…

Less costly are cash back plans.  You can have plans that provide money off vouchers and savings schemes etc.  The one’s that I have witnessed that have a big impact on employees are NHS Top Up Schemes.  These aren’t insurance, but if you have a prescription cost, you can claim the money back, they cover optical and dental also.  For company’s with less cash but who still want to support staff these schemes can be invaluable.  I’ve sat in many a welfare meeting where an individual has had headache’s but hasn’t been to the optician’s because they can’t afford the prescription.  Being able to enable your employee to claim the money back for their prescription can mean that the individual has less time away from work due to their headaches. 

These schemes can also have an EAP scheme attached to them.  These schemes are confidential but can provide counselling on many issues from debt to mental health issues.  Again, I know of many employees that have said that if they didn’t have the EAP they would have taken time away from work to resolve their issue.  You can have a cash back scheme for around £1 per week, per employee and an EAP for around £700 per year.  The cost of an employee’s average is around £600 per year so your job is to do the maths.

The Small Stuff…

We say it all the time, know your team.  Our office means cake!  If we celebrate, commiserate, comfort each other, inevitably there will be a cake involved, bought or home baked we don’t mind. 

Regardless of the above options for your business, what can you do little and often?  It doesn’t need to be the little brown thank you envelopes that are full of cash (the payroll people amongst us will have their head in their hands as we mention that) but a celebratory pizza, a longer lunch break or a lunch buffet brought in can say a lot.  Your staff will know that you may not have money to waste, but it won’t be a waste.  Recognition doesn’t need to be monetary!

As always, if this has made you think about what you provide for your team and you want to talk it through please give us a call on 01536 215240 or email info@gatewayhr.com and we can help you think it through and ensure that you have all the essential structures in place to support your new scheme.

Lindsay Baker Character
Written by:
Lindsay Baker
Head of HR