Hosting company Peer 1 recently overhauled its benefits provision, with the aim of delivering a greater degree of personalisation.
“It’s a bit of a work in progress but we’re trying to appreciate the differences that you get in the workplace across the generations and create a compensation and benefits package that offers maximum choice and flexibility,” says director of people Helen Ives. “The days of one-size-fits-all really are coming to an end.”
She gives the example of two employees from separate generations to illustrate the different types of people the business has to cater for. “We have Zac, who is 19 or 20 years old, and his aspirations in life are very consistent with that millennials generation. He wants as much cash and vacation time as he can get, so that he can go away and experience life and travel,” she says.
“But if you talk to Amy, who has just had a baby and is on maternity leave, she’s interested in enhancements to her holiday, sound health and dental benefits, and a long-term savings plan. You have to understand the different segments in your employee base to craft the package.”
Staff receive up to 2.5% of their salary, depending on their position, to spend through a flexible benefits package, which gives them choice over a number of core benefits.
Beyond this, the company offers a range of other benefits, including remote working and a health and wellbeing allowance that staff can spend on gym memberships, yoga or other health benefits.
It also provides employer-funded education of up to £5,000 a year to help staff get a degree or professional qualification. “That’s something a lot of people are very interested in,” says Ives. “We could have someone in sales who wants to transition their career into marketing, and we help them do that. It doesn’t have to be directly relevant to their job but it does have to fuel their learning and their potential.”
The business also asked staff for input to their new office design when it was decorated last year, and introduced a number of on-site benefits including a cinema, pub, golf course and a helter-skelter slide (pictured).
There are signs the efforts the company has made are appreciated; the business recently came 11th in the medium-sized category of the Great Places to Work For survey, having come 19th the previous year.
At least part of this can be attributed to the company’s willingness to listen to what staff really wanted and tailor benefits accordingly, believes Ives. “We haven’t given them everything they asked for but we were able to build in that flexibility to give more people more of what they needed,” she says.
“We tried to park best practice and really connect with people and take a much more innovative approach. The changes have really stuck, as opposed to launching something that has been done in another organisation which you just take off the shelf and repeat.”
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