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14 Jul 15

What Benefits Do Employees Really Value?

When asked, employees will usually give a grand list of their desired on-the-job perks. Anything from daily massages, to catered lunches and even a dedicated nap room (which is a reality for staff at The Huffington Post). However, these luxuries aren’t always the most valued benefits. For instance, in 2011 The Guardian discovered that when asked, 70% of employees say they would like a supplemented gym membership. However, when subsidised or complimentary gym memberships are offered only 3% of staff take them up.

So, if it isn’t the glamourous privileges that attract people, what is it?

New research (presented by HR Grapevine) suggests that it is flexibility and time off that people are really looking for. Up to 66% of people will actively look for jobs that allow them to work on flexitime, opt to work from home occasionally and grant them over 20 days of annual leave.

This is definitely reflected in what we hear from our candidates. Flexible working hours or the choice to work from home are the two benefits we are most commonly asked for.


The main reason cited for wanting extra days off is, of course, stress relief. People feel that with 20 days, or less, off they don’t have enough time to switch off and stress builds up. Companies that offer in the region of 25 days will have the advantage over companies that have shorter annual leave provisions, compensated with big benefits packages.

Flexibility has always been popular with employees with childcare needs and is now increasing in popularity with younger demographics as well. Fancy a day at the tennis? No problem if you’re working on flexitime. When you’re recruiting, think about what provisions you could put in place so you don’t lose the right candidate.

What does this mean for the charity sector?

This is good news. The charity sector is pretty well known for offering a decent amount of flexible positions already. Maybe it is time to look at the public sector for inspiration and gradually increase annual leave for long term employees?

With the constant scrutiny on how charity funds are allocated, it is refreshing to hear that top notch talent won’t be put off buying into the sector by the lack of flashy benefits and instead will be interested in what is already on offer.