There are plenty of organisations that have a bold reputation for being a great place to work. Take Virgin for example. The company is admired by employees in all sectors for its dedication to keeping staff happy. It receives regular media coverage for its employee benefits schemes, which are always relevant to current issues that workers face. We may not all have businesses that are quite as large as Virgin, but we can certainly use the company as a positive role model.

Browsing through Facebook news feeds, comedian Jason Manford makes a great point – if the boss of a company is perceived as a nice person, it then filters down to the staff. He continues to say that businesses that have a generous boss often have employees who are helpful, friendly and caring. Whilst Jason Manford isn’t exactly a thought leader in HR, his points are refreshing and welcome as learnings to our profession.

Generosity is of course delivered in many different means, but one extremely simple way of increasing the perception of generosity in your business is to offer relevant and up-to-date employee benefits.

The benefits you offer say a lot about your core values as a business and demonstrate how much you understand and care about employees’ needs. In today’s ever-changing world, it is crucial for employers to ensure that their benefit packages adapt to changes in their employees’ requirements. Advancement in technology and changes in lifestyle can have a profound impact on employee’s lives. Smartphones, social media, apps and the Internet have altered the way we consume information. Technology facilitates many everyday tasks, resulting in it becoming ingrained in everyday life.

Find a need and fill it

Many of us use our mobile phones every day. We use them for various reasons, including monitoring emails and streaming videos. In the UK, 70 percent of the population are smartphone users. Therefore providing a scheme that saves employees money on a product that is now perceived as an everyday essential is very appealing. Mobile Phone salary sacrifice schemes can significantly reduce the cost of mobile phone bills for employees.

As the scheme is operated as salary sacrifice, employees choose a handset and tariff to suit their lifestyle, which is then deducted from their salary before tax and National Insurance, resulting in the amount they actually pay each month being significantly lower. The attraction of the scheme is that these deals cannot be beaten on the high street.

The technology boom has resulted in lifestyles becoming more sedentary over time. More and more people are finding it difficult to incorporate exercise into their lives. However, it is in everyone’s interest for employees to be healthier. Employees in good health are three times more productive than employees in poor health. Employees that exercise on a daily basis are more alert during work hours and they are less likely to get tired during the workday. Furthermore, absenteeism is 27 percent lower for those employees who regularly exercise.

The main barriers to exercise are time and cost. Employers can provide schemes that alleviate these barriers and encourage a happier and healthier workforce. The Cycle to Work scheme is a HMRC backed scheme which aims to make cycling a more attractive way of commuting to work. The scheme enables your employees to purchase brand-new bicycles and equipment via salary sacrifice, making tax and National Insurance savings. The tax savings generated means that employees can save up to 42 percent on the cost of a new bike or cycling accessories.

Benefits to suit your business

Building daily exercise into the journey employees would make to work anyway will make employees fitter and save money on other fitness activities. In addition to the health benefits, the scheme is environmentally friendly and can help in reaching CSR objectives. Not to mention, the fact that 25 percent think the Cycle to Work scheme is the best employee benefit an employer can offer. Organisations also benefit from providing these schemes as they will save on National Insurance contributions.

A good benefits package is one that meets the needs of its employees. As society changes and becomes more technologically advanced, these needs can change. Think of yourself as the next Richard Branson and talk to your employees to ensure that your benefits package is up to date and accommodating. You might not have the capacity to offer the same benefits as Virgin but there are plenty of great schemes around, which suit businesses of all sizes.

John Woodward is one of the original founding members of Busy Bees. John was the brains behind the launch of Busy Bees Childcare Vouchers in 1998 which was later sold in a multi-million pound deal in 2008. After many recommendations from organisations wanting a quality, consistent service, John launched a new Childcare Voucher and employee benefits company, Busy Bees Benefits in 2010. The company continues to deliver a world-class service to its customers.

Busy Bees Benefits is an experienced employee benefits provider offering a broad range of Tax-Free, Lifestyle and Business benefits. Our benefits include childcare vouchers, mobile phone scheme, retail discounts and much more. We pride ourselves on offering low-cost, web-based solutions to organisations of all sizes, in order to help employees manage their everyday expenses.