Air miles offered to stop flight of staff

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The Independent Online

A growing number of companies are offering their staff perks ranging from air miles to gym membership, according to new research which shows such benefits have doubled in the past four years.

A growing number of companies are offering their staff perks ranging from air miles to gym membership, according to new research which shows such benefits have doubled in the past four years.

A survey of 270 businesses published by the Industrial Society, shows that over half now offer flexible benefits in an effort to retain the best staff, engender loyalty and improve productivity.

The benefits most frequently offered to employees are healthcare, extra holidays and company cars. Other common benefits included dental care, childcare vouchers, subsidised mortgages, air miles, share options and life insurance.

One tenth of the employers said that offering flexible benefits was cost effective because it had reduced staff turnover and increased employee satisfaction. One sixth said they had been forced to start offering staff more perks and benefits because of the attractive packages of their competitors.

Just over a quarter of those surveyed, 27 per cent, said they introduced the schemes to help retain staff.

But workers wanted to have a say over the benefits they were offered and more than a third said they would rather have their basic pay increased.

Christine Garner, the Industrial Society's head of organisational development, said offering a range of benefits showed that a firm was "forward thinking" as it allowed employees to choose benefits suitable for their needs.

"Parents may want to take extra holidays to be with their children. Older people may want extra medical benefits or life assurance and younger staff may want extra money rather than extra holidays," she said.

Half of the firms surveyed admitted the schemes were costly, and sometimes met by an "apathy barrier" from staff who would prefer a pay rise.

Firms offering the most benefits, were in Greater London, the South East and East Anglia.

But workers in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were the least likely to be offered company perks.

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