Employee benefits – what should you offer?

22 April 2016


Staff members who feel they are appreciated by their employer are more likely to put in extra effort, be loyal, and help to create a positive working atmosphere. When deciding which benefits you will be offering your staff, you will need to consider what will be an attractive package to new employees, what will be fair for all existing and new staff members, but also which benefits could contribute to a happier, healthier, and more efficient workplace.


Annual leave


Workers in full-time, permanent employment are legally entitled to 28 days of paid holiday per year, including bank holidays. Many UK businesses will offer this annual leave entitlement as standard, some choose to increase holiday allowance with every year of employment, and some simply offer a longer period as standard for all staff from the start. Whichever you choose for your clinic, remember you will need to make your policy fair for all staff members. Even though contractual details are confidential, the number of holiday days taken by each staff member will be clear for all to see, so make a company policy and stick to it.

Your clinic may be so busy that you feel you can only offer a holiday allowance that is the legal minimum, and this is fine, so long as you manage your rotas so your staff can actually use their allowance. Your clinic may be busy, but if it is so busy that you over-stretch your staff members and refuse holiday requests, you may start to see their morale drop.

If you don’t feel sure of extending the standard holiday allowance in your company, but there is room for a little flexibility, there are other options you can consider. For example, if budgets are tight but schedules aren’t, you could allow employees to take a small amount of unpaid leave in certain circumstances, or allow employees to work extra hours on occasion to cover time taken for dentist’s appointments, rather than having to use up holiday for health appointments.


Private health insurance


Setting up a scheme for your staff to have private health cover may seem a luxury, but you should consider the benefits to both your staff, and to your business. While private healthcare insurance will obviously be a great benefit to your employee, it could also help your business by helping sick or injured employees return to work sooner. For example, if an employee has an accident and needs to have physiotherapy, they are likely to get this organised and completed sooner if they have private health cover. Dental emergencies that turn into costly work not covered entirely by the NHS may also be covered with private healthcare, so you could help your staff return to work sooner by giving them the means to cover the cost of such procedures.

Private healthcare schemes can also offer additional benefits for your team on top of the medical services included. Many include health assessments and gym discounts that could help your workforce stay fit and healthy, and many also provide useful discounts that could be used in their leisure time for travel or entertainment.


Pension schemes


At some stage over the next few years, all employers will have to provide their workers with a pension scheme, so it is sensible to start looking into this now. You will be required to make a contribution, but employees will also make their own contributions via their wages, so it is not a benefit entirely covered by employers. Pension schemes can help employees to feel they are investing in their future, and your contribution will be part of that benefit. Once you have done your research, make sure you provide clear and concise information on your pension scheme to your employees, as it can sometimes be a little confusing to those who have never encountered this before.


Gym and high street discounts


Is your clinic on a high street or near a town centre? If you have a number of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities nearby, you may be able to arrange a reciprocal deal with other local businesses to offer your staff useful local discounts. In return, you could offer those businesses a discount at your clinic. Although you may be offering certain treatments at a reduced rate, this could also bring new customers to your clinic, and in turn, could help increase your client base through word-of-mouth. Rather than this benefit costing your business, it could actually bring increased revenue.


Product and treatment discounts


Your staff shouldn’t only perform treatments on others, or only know your range of retail products from the marketing brochures. Your employees should also know what each treatment or product is like to experience themselves, as it will increase their knowledge and understanding, and in turn, this should help them promote your products and services. Offering treatment and product discounts will help your team experience what your clinic has to offer, and at the same time they will appreciate having more affordable access to such services.


Birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations


Remember that staff benefits don’t have to all be a standard list of items every company considers, you can be creative, too! Think about allowing staff members to leave early if they’re scheduled to work on their birthday, and perhaps have a tea break with a bit of cake to celebrate, or go out for lunch with your team. Or, you could do the same to celebrate an employee’s first year of service. This may not be a benefit written into everyone’s contract, but it will be a nice touch to show your staff you appreciate them, and help boost team morale.


Ad-hoc bonuses


Most bonus schemes and commission structures will be set on an individual basis, and will not be part of a company-wide benefits policy. However, do you ever offer an ad-hoc bonus or other benefits when your company has had a particularly good year? If your staff members have exceeded all their targets and your clinic’s revenue is better than predicted, why not share some of the success? You don’t have to promise to pay a Christmas bonus every year, but letting your staff know how well they’ve done via a surprise bonus at a particularly expensive time of year never fails to raise a smile.


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