DID YOU KNOW THE DIRECT COSTS OF EMPLOYEE ABSENCE TO THE ECONOMY ARE REPORTED TO BE IN EXCESS OF £14BN EACH YEAR? THAT’S WHAT A RECENT SURVEY BY THE CONFEDERATION OF BRITISH INDUSTRY (CBI) DISCOVERED. CONTRIBUTOR REBECCA MYERS, FOUNDER – WORK IN YOUR WORK OUT (WIYWO). IT’S RESEARCH LIKE THIS THAT INSPIRED RECRUITMENT AND HR SPECIALIST, (AND WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE A PERSONAL TRAINER) REBECCA MYERS, TO ESTABLISH NEW EMPLOYEE BENEFITS SERVICES GEARED TOWARDS ACCESSIBLE FITNESS SESSIONS FOR TIME-POOR EMPLOYEES.
Pensions -tick! Health insurance – tick! Discounts for brands or services – probably! This is all pretty standard fare when it comes to employee benefits. Some are obligatory, of course, and are undoubtedly sensible and beneficial incentives for employees, but are they offering your talented team the immediate hit they need to feel valued, or indeed supported, in their demanding role? Truth – probably not.
Healthy employees = happy employees
The rise of well-being programmes in recent years goes some way to demonstrate the appetite for instant-hit benefits. Access to counselling services, for example, are on the rise, and many organisations are introducing healthy eating initiatives, doing away with the omnipresent fizzy drinks and chocolate bar dispensers. Discounts to local gym memberships have also been present on the periphery of employee benefits recently – which is great – but time-poor employees can’t clear their lunch diaries long enough to spend an hour away from their desk. “It’s not rocket science to understand the importance of retaining talented employees,’ explains Rebecca Myers explains Rebecca Myers, founder of Work In Your Work Out (WIYWO), that brings 30-minute fitness sessions to your place of work, “longer term benefits are great, but an employee who is experiencing stress, anxiety, or would simply like to include exercise in their week, but can’t find the time – would benefit from employee engagement services they can make use of right now, not years down the line when collecting their pension.
“Yes, you absolutely need things like pensions and ‘hard’ benefits in place, but, as an employer myself, I also looked at what soft benefits we could offer – and what other companies offered that our candidates were impressed by. Over time, softer benefits have become more important to candidates than harder benefits.”
The instant appeal of soft benefits
Soft benefits are increasingly important factors in employee retention strategies, and, Rebecca says, a key part of negotiations when placing a new candidate within a company. Examples of soft benefits could include: extra holidays, flexible working hours, loyalty or bonus plans and courses to quit smoking.
“When it came to introducing soft benefits to our recruitment business,’ explains Rebecca, ‘I immediately thought of fitness sessions. It’s something that is close to my heart – I firmly believe that the healthier a person is, the more energy they have, the more productive and better able they are to deal with the day-to-day pressures of a busy job.
“The sessions I introduced worked really well, and over time more local businesses joined us. It was this that spurred me on to establish Work In Your Work Out. We take the stress out of the whole process – we manage the admin, it’s easy for HR teams to implement, and the costs are fixed and transparent. Our qualified personal trainers deliver sessions designed for all levels of fitness, and inject lots of fun and energy into a regular working day.
She continues, “The real innovation though, is the ability for remote workers to access the session on our secure online portal, or watch the sessions later when convenient to them. Employees simply book their slot online, and we manage the rest. We come to you – and all we need is a little indoor or outdoor space. Interestingly, most people prefer getting outdoors – even with UK weather!”