offering benefits packages, with the flexibility to tailor them to each employee, can be a smart way to get ahead in the job market.

Corporate work colleagues
Corporate work colleagues

It takes more than pay alone to attract the right talent and keep employees satisfied. Randstad's research shows that employees become more concerned with task rewards and work-life balance once pay reaches a certain level.

Staff on high incomes are prepared to give up salaries to obtain higher levels of non-financial job satisfaction.

The total reward package can include a range of benefits, such as health insurance and individual super funds, and become a vital feature of the overall remuneration package.

a good benefits package differentiates better employers from their competitors, increasing the chance of attracting the best people.

Flexible benefits include holidays and other leave arrangements, company cars, allowances, childcare provisions, paid membership in societies or associations, learning and development programs, and financial assistance with employee moves.

As workplaces become more diverse, the standard provision of benefits where everyone receives broadly the same is becoming a thing of the past. Through flexible benefits schemes, employees can increasingly choose the benefits that suit them best.

The advantages include adapting to a changing labour market, better targeting benefits, enhancing employer branding, and greater awareness of the total value of complete reward packages.

A 2014 global survey by Mercer found that 53% of all companies were offering a flexible benefits package, and 32% of companies had implemented a choice program during the previous two years.

Creating a compelling and original benefits program can be an excellent way for smaller employers to gain an advantage in attracting and retaining employees. And designing and administering a benefits program that aligns with company values is often more accessible and affordable for smaller organisations.

Of course, flexible benefits aren't always the right solution so a feasibility study could be a good idea. There are also up-front costs to be considered.

conventional and unusual

The types of benefits offered are constantly changing. Research shows substantial growth in the proportion of Australian companies providing car allowances, maternity leave over and above the statutory minimum, childcare support and health club membership.

Offering sabbaticals is another growing trend. It's an ideal way to reduce headcount during a downturn while allowing companies to restore resources, skills and expertise as things improve rapidly.

There are also more unique benefits such as complimentary fruit, massages and discounted gym memberships. Some companies have started offering 'paternity leave to enable staff to recover after the death of a pet or to settle in a new animal. Organisations can also link up with local businesses to provide discounts at restaurants.

More conventionally, arrangements for train and bus tickets are well-established, while some companies tick both the environmentally friendly and employee wellbeing boxes by offering loans to buy bicycles.

The array of potential benefits is bewildering. Perhaps the best advice is to find out what your employees value most.

For further articles and advice on employer branding, strategic talent management, employment trends and employee engagement and retention, visit Randstad's knowledge centre workforce360 today.

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