Introducing employee benefits
So, you want to create an affordable and attractive employee benefits package for your small business? Whether you’re on a fact-finding mission or actively seeking to implement an employee benefits scheme, you’ve come to the right place.
In this industry, you’ll typically encounter confusing jargon and an array of services promising to find the best deal for you.
“What perks should I offer? Is this policy all that it’s cracked up to be? And will the insurer actually payout on my claims?”
Hooray Health & Protection is dedicated to breaking down the wall of confusion and helping you invest wisely in an employee benefits package. As an independent insurance broker, we are not tied to any insurance provider which means we can offer advice which is genuinely in your best interest – and we provide it FREE of charge. If you’d like one-to-one guidance use the chatbox or call 01273 222805.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about employee benefits.
Why offer employee benefits?
More and more SMEs are offering a benefits package to look after the health, happiness and wellbeing of their staff. While a hefty pay packet will go some way to attracting talent, extra perks outside of the wage structure can also help recruit and retain the best people.
Only 41% of workers feel satisfied with their benefits, according to a survey by the CIPD. If true, then employee benefits can provide a key competitive advantage in recruiting the best employees and fostering loyalty within your team.
There’s only one problem: budget. Any employee benefits package has to be both affordable and capable of addressing the needs of current and prospective staff.
It’s a tricky balancing act, and a key reason why getting one-to-one professional – and (crucially!) unbiased – advice is so important.
Examples of UK employee benefits
There are various types of employee benefit you can provide, including the following:
- Business Health Insurance: Provides employees with access to healthcare in private hospitals, avoiding waiting lists typical on the NHS. Consultations, scans and treatments are typically included but specific inclusions/exclusions vary greatly. Read more about Business Health Insurance.
- Group Life Insurance: A policy which provides financial support to an employee’s loved-ones in the event of their passing. Typically the lowest cost insurance policy due to the low number claims it attracts. Read more about Group Life Insurance.
- Sick Pay Insurance: AKA Group Income Protection. This policy is designed to provide extra financial support above and beyond statutory sick pay. Also includes practical support to help staff recover and therefore return to work more quickly. Read more about Group Income Protection.
- Health Cash Plan: An underrated insurance scheme which assists employees with their everyday health needs. Usually includes things such as: physiotherapy, osteopathy, counselling, eyecare, dentistry and scans/tests among other things. Read more about Business Health Cash Plans.
- Critical Illness support: Provides financial assistance when an employee is diagnosed with a critical illness or, in some cases, a disability – during the course of the policy term. Read more about Group Critical Illness.
- Dental insurance: Dental care can be included in a wider health insurance policy or purchased as a standalone product. The latter will usually provide a wider scope of coverage. Includes consultations and treatments.
- Eye care insurance: As above but focusing on supporting good eye health. Particularly useful for office workers for whom eyestrain is common.
- Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP). EAPs are designed to tackle a wide range of wellbeing issues, with a strong focus on mental health. It’s offered on a digital platform and features tools and guidance designed to promote emotional resilience. 24/7 helplines are usually part of the service. Read more about Employee Assistance Programmes
- Employee benefits platforms: Essentially, digital “one-stop shops” through which perks can be managed and accessed. EAPs (see above) are usually housed within such platforms, but insurance policies and other perks can be managed through them too. Read more about employee benefit platforms.
Lifestyle and rewards
- Retirement benefits: Companies can choose to offer more than is standard in auto-enrol pension schemes. Another option is to offer support with financial planning, a service which is in demand according to Employee Benefits magazine.
- Remote working: Clearly in-demand post-pandemic. It was once considered a “like-to-have” but for some has become an expectation. Many companies offer a combination of in-office and remote working.
- Flexi time: Some businesses allow their employees to do work when it suits them best, rather than insisting on set hours. As with remote working, it would be important to track productivity!
- Extra holiday time: Who wouldn’t appreciate extra paid holiday days? It would certainly be enticing for potential recruits and no doubt help with retention too..
- Parental leave: The birth of a child is obviously a big deal, so any extra support for families will be appreciated by young families.
- Travel expenses: As remote working increases in popularity, ensuring that employees attending the physical workspace are not penalised is even more important.
- Employee discounts: Workplaces can set-up discount schemes especially for their employees. Such schemes are typically included on employee benefits platforms. Read more about employee discount schemes.
…To name a few! What works best for your business will depend on the demographic make-up of your workforce, what you want to achieve, and the budgetary constraints you’re working within.
If you’d like FREE advice from an impartial broker, then contact the friendly team at Hooray on 01273 222805 or use the chat function on the right.
Before you invest in employee benefits…
Hooray Health & Protection is experienced in helping small businesses get the best UK employee benefits package, within budget and tailored to their needs.
The benefits have to be relevant to the nature of your business, how it operates, and the needs and desires of your employees.
When we work with businesses we like to ask them why they want to offer benefits:
- Is it because you’re a growing company and you need to find ways of attracting the best staff?
- Is it because you want to keep the staff you already have?
- Is it because you want to build a greater sense of ‘team’?
- Is it so you can match your competitors?
Then, we need to know more about the workplace. For example:
- What type of work do your staff carry out? (i.e. office-based, manual, outdoors etc)
- What demographic makes up your workforce?
All this information is vital for creating the optimal employee benefits program.
For example, let’s say you have an office-based workforce and the average age is between 25-45. On the first point, we can predict that certain health issues may arise, such as eye strain and back pain.
This immediately signposts which benefits will be most helpful. Free appointments with an optician, a free monthly physio session and flexible working options for parents – will all combine to make a helpful and attractive benefit scheme for your team.
But it’s worth re-reading your list and scrutinising it more. Are there any downsides to this scheme? Am I sure my business can afford this now and in the future?
Once a benefit scheme is put in place, it’s very difficult to takeaway. If it is, it’s likely to have a negative impact on staff morale and their perception of you as an employer.
We consider this one of our most important jobs: making sure the benefits package is going to work for both the business and its employees, now and going forward.
Interesting fact: According to a survey by Aviva, annual leave is the most in-demand employee benefit. 44% identified it as one of the workplace benefits of greatest interest to them. A company pension (41%) and flexible work (39%) came second and third.
How an employee benefits broker can help (or hinder!)
A lot of insurance brokers will promise to get the right deal for you. But businesses need to be wary. Some brokers will have relationships with just one or two insurance companies and so are not working across the whole market to deliver the best deals.
Meanwhile, if you go direct to an insurance company, they will be inclined to guide you down their preferred path. That means, not necessarily the best deal for you, but the best one for them – and they can be incredibly convincing: fast-talking, heavy with jargon and keen to hurry the deal along.
Hooray Health & Protection does things in a simpler, more transparent and considered way. We are guided by your needs as a small business owner. We’ll work with you to get the best deal so that achieve the right mix of employee perks (within budget!) which provide the optimal benefit for employee and business alike.
We don’t believe in big fees, and we’re happy to chat with you for as long as you need before you make a decision. We understand how important this process is, and how tricky it can be to decide what to go for, which is why you have our constant support and patience.
Both business and employee stand to benefit
Get it right, and it’s not just the employee who reaps the benefits – the company does too. What helps the individual will help the business. A happy employee is usually a more productive worker and will have less days off sick. A cared-for employee will be more loyal to the business, decreasing staff churn. And your company will become a more enticing prospect for skilled workers.
Some packages even cover immediate family, so they have the comfort of knowing that children and spouses can receive the help they need too. It’s the little things that make employees proud of the company they work for and therefore motivate them to act as advocates for the business.
A happy employee will also recommend the company as a good place to work. They’ll also be more enthusiastic about the product you offer and mention it to friends and family.
Talk to our team today and we’ll advise you on the best benefits package.
Employee Benefits FAQ
Why do I need Employee Benefits?
The main thing is that it shows your employees that you care about their health, welfare, and future. It’s valuable in the sense that you will have stronger employee loyalty and retention, if employees feel as though their employer is considerate and cares about them as an individual. They can also lower absenteeism and increase the productivity of your team.
Can small businesses offer Employee Benefits?
Yes, small businesses can have employee benefits, and it is actually fairly common to see things like health and life insurance offered by them. It’s quite affordable for small businesses to implement schemes like this, and it has a very positive impact on the company.
Should I use an Employee Benefits Broker?
They have the potential to get you the best price on insurance, and sometimes that low price is also the top deal in terms of extras within the package. Also, a broker like Hooray can help with the claims process and answer any ongoing queries you may have.
Why choose Hooray Health & Protection for Employee Benefits?
We’re all about keeping things simple, breaking it down so that you aren’t overloaded with jargon and can make a clear decision about what you want. We negotiate fantastic prices, and packages that are full of benefits that your employees want and need to make their life easier as well as reduce stress for everyone.
What costs are involved reviewing Employee Benefits through Hooray?
We’re all about the little guy, with focus on small businesses and what we can do to help them achieve an affordable and practical insurance policy. We don’t charge any fees, and we’re happy to chat with you for as long as you need before you even make a decision.
Are employee benefits taxable?
The short answer is: some are, some aren't. For example, many insurance policies are classified as a Benefit in Kind, which means they can attract tax. The idea - from a tax collectors point of view - is to stop employees from cynically avoiding tax by reducing salary and increasing benefits. On the plus side, many benefits are classed as a business expense, which allows businesses to claim back against Corporation Tax. If you need advice specific to a policy, just call our team.
Can employee benefits be taken away?
In theory, yes. But it may come at cost. Taking away a popular perk will leave employees feeling disappointed and, even, angry. That's why we always advise our small business clients to budget carefully and ensure the benefits package will provide genuine value to business and employee alike.