When it comes to culture, benefits make the difference

It’s not often that employee benefits make the hallowed pink pages of the Financial Times but last week there was a great feature on organisations who take a creative approach to what they describe as ‘workplace perks’.

If you ever wondered about the business benefits of giving free surf lessons, providing private chefs, offering a four day week as standard or private offices for every employee to use when they need one, then this is the article to read.

Are these kind of ideas simply too outlandish for the non-kooky, more risk averse organisations which most of us work in?

For the majority of us, this has to be the case. Unlimited holiday and home working sound great in theory but from a practical perspective most working patterns don’t lend themselves to this type of free range employment environment.

You also have to think that creative benefits and working practices will only tend to work for newer, smaller organisations where relationships are closer and the sight lines clearer between managers and employees.

Then there is the actual cost of some of the fancier perks.

Despite this, I do think that all organisations can learn from what these freewheeling upstart businesses are doing to keep their staff happy, engaged and on task.

The issue to think about is not around the nature of the benefits – that’s a smokescreen. No, the really important issue is that these employers are seizing the opportunity to use benefits and create a working culture that is a draw.

Whether it is providing them with a personal IT budget or compressed working hours what these employers are all doing successfully is building trust into the heart of the relationship with their employees, thinking creatively about how they can support their people to do a great job and lastly, empowering employees to make choices for themselves.

No-one wants to be treated in like a hen in a battery farm. That’s why this type of thinking - which is a world away from the paternalistic traditional approach to benefits - has a place in every organisation. If we want the best people to give their best, we have to go the extra mile for them. That means thinking about the type of employee we want and modelling our organisations around them.

This article was written by Andy Philpott, and originally posted on www.hrzone.co.uk


Author: Andy Philpott | Category: Blog | 29/07/2013 | 0

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