What are employee benefits?
Benefits are additional non-monetary forms of compensation offered to the employees in addition to the basic salary. The decision as to whether and what benefits will function in the company, of course, rests with the employer. But if it is the employer alone who makes the decision to choose a specific benefit, based on their own beliefs and preferences, how probable is it that it would be something of value to the employees? Benefits should respond to the needs of the employees, that’s the number one rule, because only then can they be appreciated. Let’s look at what “good benefits” are and how to choose them.
How have the benefits changed during the pandemic?
As an HR Business Partner in Rite NRG, recently I’ve taken a closer look at the topic of employee benefits, both in terms of how the benefit packages have changed in the market over the course of the pandemic and what we offer as a company. The biggest job advert platform in Poland, Pracuj.pl, has recently conducted a study on the topic. It showed that the most popular benefits offered in Poland are still a sports card, private medical care as well as training, and courses co-financing. Are they dream benefits in any case? Doubtfully. This is simply what has been in place for a long time. And if so, what would be a dream benefit in 2022? I decided to look into this topic and answer the question: what non-obvious and potentially highly-desired benefits are currently offered to the employees? What are the trends for this year?
“Fruity Thursdays“ became a meme a while ago and sweets in the office don’t attract anyone to the company. These things are clearly a thing of the past, if not because of being outdated (and openly laughed at, let’s face it), but also for the simple reason that… companies have moved to remote or hybrid work. Among the new hot benefits for employees, the ones that are often mentioned are:
- Additional equipment for setting up the home office space;
- A concierge service (a personal assistant for hours who helps an employee with e.g. flight booking, grocery shopping, organizing childcare, etc.);
- Company shares;
- Psychological support.
Another thing that is worth mentioning here is one particularly popular poll a person posted on LinkedIn asking what non-obvious benefits are currently desired (the questionnaire was reached by 123,518 people, and over 3,000 people cast their votes!). When we look at the responses at the top of the list, it’s clear that time has become more valuable than anything else. Most of the responders pointed out the following:
- Shorter working hours on Fridays
- An extra day off for a birthday
- Remote work
- Flexible working hours
How do we decide what to choose when it comes to employee benefits?
That survey answers are a mix of the answers coming from different people working in different companies and countries. What is important both for me as an HR person as well as for the people on Rite NRG’s management board, is to get to know the needs of our own employees. We know that each of them would expect something different, but it is crucial to ask them what it is. This is the only way we can offer a tailor-made benefits package.
In Rite NRG, there’s a space and environment created for all kinds of discussions, including the benefits, especially during the 1 to 1 weekly meetings. Additionally, we conduct a satisfaction survey every three months. We check whether the benefits offered currently are to our employee’s liking and we always leave room for new propositions. Only one thing is non-negotiable: the benefits are to answer the needs of our people. Whenever a new idea comes up, we make sure we discuss it internally, inviting everyone to share their thoughts.
There’s really no point in having a benefit in the package if hardly anyone in the company makes use of it, and there’s another reason for it. Whether one’s aware of it or not, benefits express a company’s culture to the market. They are also an employer branding tool: the means to make a company more attractive to the job-seekers as well as more friendly to its current workers. Therefore, it’s so important to choose them mindfully, precisely because they can tell a lot about a company.
Apart from the meetings and catch-ups with the employees, we draw inspiration for new benefits tailored to 2022 from our business friends. For example, one of these companies is VM.pl who bought… a company boat! The employees are allowed to use it on the Odra river. They can also invite their friends and family if they wish, and spend a weekend. It’s such a cool idea – see it for yourself here.
And what kind of benefits do we offer in Rite NRG?
Of course, we have some standard benefits just like everyone else (so i.e. private medical care, private life insurance, or a Multisport card), but there’s also a lot more:
- We assume that programmers are gadget-lovers (end even if not, all of them simply want to have good hardware). Therefore, everyone has a high-quality laptop and a 4K monitor, plus accessories (selected individually, depending on what is needed, of course within reason 🙂
- Laptop means mobility, so we have no problems with working either from home or from the office or also with traveling to the client if needed (who knows, maybe these times will come back one day)
- Talking about mobility, it is worth saying that remote work is the basic option in Rite NRG. Of course, we encourage everyone to come to our Wroclaw office every now and then (or as often as possible), but there is no pressure. We just like each other and it’s so great to hang out and work hand in hand if possible.
- How do we encourage our people to come to the office? With food 😉 When you come to the office, the lunch is on the company. At the moment we’re also thinking about introducing company breakfasts, too!
- When working remotely, it is difficult to build an organizational culture, so our answer to this challenge is company meetings organized every several weeks. What do we do? We all meet in our Wrocław office for two days, we work together, and then we always have some excitement and fun (a city game, go-karts, bowling, etc.)
- We also take care of our people when it comes to remuneration, including consulting tax changes with the best consulting companies (DSK, thank you so much for your help!) We also help our people understand tax nuances (including the so-called “Polish Order.”)
- Also, Rite NRG’s employees have the opportunity to join the VIP private medical care package, they have access to specialized tests if they suffered from covid, as well as the possibility of using the support of a psychologist.
- And finally… This year we got back to the idea from before the pandemic and this year we are renting a company apartment in Tenerife! What can we say, we just want everyone to be able to work with a sea view! The apartment has a comfortable place to work and a high-speed Internet connection as well as a heated swimming pool. Everyone from Rite NRG can go there, either for “workation” (a combination of work and rest – after 8 hours of work, you can get in the car and drive up to the volcano, or go to the beach and swim, or even go snorkeling or diving…). Or one can leave their laptop at home and simply come to Tenerife for vacation – the choice is up to the employee. Also, everyone can go with an accompanying person, be it a friend or a colleague working on the same project, or with their family. We have an online schedule where we book suitable dates for the apartment.
There’s one more thing that’s important for us. We don’t want to divide people into employees and contractors when it comes to the benefits package. It’s a part of our culture and therefore these benefits apply to everyone, including the B2B contractors.
What makes my heart sing is that both the surveys and the 1 to 1 meetings show that people in Rite NRG are happy with the benefits we offer. I also know that everyone is truly excited about the Tenerife apartment we’ve just included. We started organizing everything around it in January and the first people will arrive at our Tenerife apartment in June. We literally can’t wait!
HR Business Partner in RITE NRG
In my work, I focus on building relationships. I am a liaison between candidates and companies, listening closely to the needs and expectations of both sides, and then trying to find the perfect match and satisfactory solutions.
In my free time, I like to spend time in nature, biking, or lying on a deckchair with a nice cup of coffee and a good book. My friends and family are an important part of my life – they give me the energy to move forward.