Unusual employee events are highly valued. No medium-sized company without survival training, no start-up without a ski jumping event… But does it really have to be this way? Can companies in competition for highly qualified employees not score with other benefits?
Satisfied employees. Happy employees. Productive employees. What kind of boss wouldn’t like to see this amongst his staff? But where to find them? The labor market for the best talents, promising managers and the most courageous executives is a fiercely competitive battlefield. Every employer, regardless of whether an old player or a young start-up, has to come up with something to stand out from the competition. Personnel managers have recognized that in this context specialized staff benefits are twofold: they ensure a higher level of satisfaction amongst existing employees, and they attract highly qualified new employees.
The classic benefits
Offers such as retirement accounts, financial services, restaurant vouchers and/or company phones have been among the standards of benefits for employees for many years. These benefits, however, are hardly enough to draw the most desirable candidates. This is why more and more new programs, such as childcare, flexible working hours, and health care for the employees, are increasingly taking center stage.
Is that enough?
More than 100 personnel decision-makers were surveyed for a study conducted by Fidelis HR, and it was found that employee loyalty was strengthened by participation in work social events and outings. So, though the new benefits are very attractive, e.g. home office and childcare, employees do value social gatherings and team building exercises. Go ahead and plan that sky diving event!
Walking the fine line
Make sure when planning your company events and outings to make them fun, but also professional – it’s not a child’s birthday party, after all! The events should ideally strengthen the employer brand and be careful not to counteract it. For example, a company that produces fruit juices and promotes a healthy lifestyle should not send its workforce to a whiskey tasting. A meat producer should not plan a large cooking course, as they may neglect the vegetarians and vegans in the company. In order to avoid such mistakes there are, of course, the professionals. These are event organizers that specialize in the conception and realization of employee events – and have a wide range of events on offer. Want to have a small group outing? How about race car driving, a BBQ workshop, agent training, survival training, etc. There’s no limit to the possibilities.
Flexibility is the key
Unusual employee events are indeed beneficial, but more of a “nice to have”. Ultimately the decision an employee makes for a new employer is based more on the benefits received that promote a good work-life balance. Employees are increasingly looking for companies that can allow them to work flexibly. A ranking of top benefits was conducted by Kununu, a leading employer rating site, and it was found that the wishes of employees and the offerings of companies are surprisingly out of sync. The importance of employee events, for example, was ranked fifth in importance by employers, and only 15th by employees. Here are the top 3 benefits, according to employees and employers:
The top 3 benefits employees would like to see:
- Flexible working hours
- Home office
- Dogs tolerated in the office
The top 3 benefits offered by employers:
- Employee parking lot
- Flexible working hours
- Internet use
As one can clearly see, some work needs to be done to get employees and employers on the same page regarding benefits. At least ‘flexible working hours’, the top priority for employees, is being taken into account by employers…now on to the debate for home office!
About the author
Jörg Peter Urbach is the author, editor and blogger of Sprachleidenschaft. He has been writing for more than 25 years, for print and online. Concepts. Stories. Journal articles. After studying musicology and German language and literature, Jörg Peter worked as an editorial manager in the classical music business. As long-time chief editor of the portal wissen.de, he knows how to inspire readers with clever topics.
If the native Kieler is not writing, he is walking through the Alps. Or listening to the opera. With mindfulness.